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Erin Burnett Outfront
Protests Across U.S. After Leak Of Draft Opinion On Roe; Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) Discusses About Her Take On The Supreme Court's Leaked Roe v. Wade Draft Opinion; Protests Across U.S. After Leak Of Draft Opinion On Roe; Anti-Abortion Group Pouring $72M Into Midterms; Ukraine: Russian Forces Target Several Regions Across Ukraine; Russian State TV Anchor Known As "Putin's Voice" Now In Mariupol; Polls Close In Ohio Races, Major Test Of Trump's Power. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 03, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORREPONDENT: We're here at his headquarters to see if he can collect on the power of that endorsement and deliver a victory. Wolf?
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Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, protests growing across the country after the leak of that draft opinion from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
Plus, explosions reported in several cities across Ukraine tonight including Lviv and Kyiv, the Ukrainian officials say they just shot down a cruise missile.
And it's election day, polls are about to close in Ohio and tonight's primary the first major test of Trump's influence over the Republican Party, John King is in place tonight at the magic wall. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, protests around the country growing at this hour, less than 24 hours after the explosive leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion that strikes down Roe v. Wade. The draft sparking outrage and demonstrations of force outside the Supreme Court in Washington. This is the scene. It appears thousands of people now have shown up. You can see them legions of people.
And tonight President Biden warning that the fallout could stretch far beyond abortion rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If this decision holds, it's really quite a radical decision. It basically says all the decisions relating to your private life who you married, whether or not you decide to conceive a child or not, whether or not you're going to have an abortion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, that is based on this draft. It could shatter a constitutional right that is in place for 50 years, 98 pages Politico obtained it. And I should note that President Biden is making a point, the whole predicate of Roe v. Wade was to recognize the right for privacy and that was when they started that.
So all of those other things he mentioned are all past things in light of the right to privacy, which was established in Roe v. Wade. The authenticity of this document is confirmed by the court's spokesperson. And Chief Justice John Roberts now has directed the marshal of the court to investigate who leaked the draft.
It reads in part, "Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people's elected representatives." States' rights argument.
Now, the court is making it clear that this is a draft opinion, it's not a final decision and it could still change. But it was written by Justice Samuel Alito that is very clear and you can see here, it was backed by the justices Clarence Thomas, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, the same Gorsuch and Kavanaugh who said these things during their confirmation hearings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: As a judge, it is an important precedent of the Supreme Court, by it, I mean, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey, been reaffirmed many times. Casey is precedent on precedent, which itself is an important factor.
JUDGE NEIL GORSUCH, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: A fetus is not a person for purposes of the 14th Amendment and the book explains that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you accept that?
GORSUCH: That's the law of the land. I accept the law of the land, Senator. Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, they appeared to be very genuine in those comments. Well, except for they just voted to do the opposite. Republican Senator Susan Collins, who was a crucial vote in each of those confirmations now says she shocked and she writes, "If this leaked draft opinion is the final decision and this reporting is accurate, it would be completely inconsistent with what Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh said in their hearings and in our meetings in my office."
Kaitlan Collins was traveling with the President today and she's OUTFRONT live in Montgomery, Alabama, where President Biden was.
So Kaitlan, you've obviously had a chance to speak to your sources inside the White House, what are you learning about how the administration found out about this really explosive draft opinion? We've never had a leak like this before from the Supreme Court.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, it's almost unprecedented. And the White House was basically as caught off guard as the rest of us. They were a little bit scrambling last night once this draft opinion came out. Of course, a big question is whether or not it was authentic, something we saw the Supreme Court confirmed today when we heard President Biden weigh in for the first time.
But Erin, though they were caught off guard, it's not that this outcome was inevitable. This was something that the White House had been bracing for, something that they knew the Supreme Court could do, maybe not this soon in a draft opinion the way it came out. But they knew this decision was possible.
And so President Biden said he had been preparing his staff for this. Telling his gender policy council and the White House Counsel's Office to start thinking of options of what they could do if this was ultimately the Justices' ruling and this is what they ultimately decided to do. Which, of course, he did note today, this is not the final decision, but he said if the rationale stands as it is, this is a very radical decision in his view.
And so it remains to be seen what exactly the White House's purview is going to be here, legally speaking, what options they do actually have that obviously won't be as broad as a Supreme Court ruling.
You've also seen eyes turn to Congress asking what they can do. And the President said he wasn't prepared to make a judgment yet about changing the filibuster rules so that they could potentially pass and codify Roe versus Wade even to make it - making it basically irrelevant what the Supreme Court justices decide.
Though, that is something that people on the left in his party, people like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders are certainly calling for. And so that is going to be a big question facing the White House as we approach this, as this is the major conversation approaching the midterms. Because, of course, I'm here in my home state of Alabama, lawmakers here today are already saying that if this is the actual final ruling from the Supreme Court, they are going to move to make abortion illegal. We've seen other state lawmakers say the same.
And I should note, Erin, just out of the shot of this camera right now, there are pro choice protesters here in the capital of Montgomery, protesting this decision, something that we will likely see from both sides of this aisle of this decision until this ruling is final from the Supreme Court.
BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, thank you very much. Reporting, as Kaitlan said, from Alabama.
And now Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier, she was the first member of Congress to share her own experience with abortion on the House floor. And I want to get to that in a moment because it was an incredible moment and a brave, brave thing that you chose to do.
Congresswoman, I want to start with the ruling itself as we understand it, a Supreme Court spokesperson says that the draft opinion by Justice Alito is authentic, but that it does not represent a decision by the court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case. Do you truly believe the door is open that there could be a different outcome than what it appears this outcome is?
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): I don't think there's going to be a different opinion. They might be doing some wordsmithing on the actual draft opinion. I don't think you're going to see the actual names of those who addressed this opinion as being any different. I don't think we're going to move anyone.
And I think that what's most troubling about this draft opinion is how loaded the words were. Justice Alito went out of his way to be almost confrontational in the way he talked about abortion and it is really stunning to me.
BURNETT: I - in that context, I want to talk about your experience that you shared. You were the first member of Congress to share what happened to you with abortion, you did so on the House floor and it was during a debate over funding for Planned Parenthood. A Republican Congressman had just read a graphic description of how certain procedures are performed and this is how you responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPEIER: I had a procedure at 17 weeks, pregnant with a child that had moved from the vagina into the cervix, and that procedure that you just talked about was a procedure that I endured. I lost a baby. But for you to stand on this floor and to suggest as you have that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought is preposterous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Congresswoman, I thought those words were just so incredibly powerful the point that you were making, right? It's - those who argue with some sort of a form of birth control, right, the agony and the loss that you went through when that - saved your life. From a personal standpoint, what would this ruling mean to you?
SPEIER: From a personal standpoint, it pains me Erin, because I had the luxury of having Roe in place during my reproductive years. There are generations of women now that will be subjected to not having that benefit, not having that safe procedure to be able to count on. And it's so important to appreciate that 57% of those who have abortions are mothers.
This is not some, as you pointed out, some way that women who are somehow running around having sex with every man that comes their way, a way of using it for birth control. And it's a painful process. I mean, just hearing my words again just takes me back in time. It was so difficult to make that decision.
So it is a safe procedure, it is a legal procedure in this country and it's about to be ripped out of the hands of women and their partners, as they have to contemplate what to do when they have a pregnancy either that is an intentional or that has some element to it that makes it viable.
BURNETT: So just to think about this in a different way, obviously, there are those who make a states' rights argument that this could be decided at the state level. The New York Times points out the comparisons with other countries. They note that only 11 other countries allow abortions for any reason after 15 weeks, which is the threshold in the Mississippi law that this ruling is about, only 11 countries.
And countries including Germany, Italy, Norway, they all have limits before or up to 15 weeks. These are countries that the U.S. admires in many ways, right? We're talking about Norway. Why not use that threshold in cases that are not medical emergencies?
SPEIER: Well, in fact, it is something that we have always imposed as well. We had a 24-week or 22-week limitation on abortion in this country. And it's always been in conjunction with the life of the mother. And I think that the real concern here is that this is going to see complete erosion over time.
If some states see this as an opening to do whatever they want, you're going to see more states do the copycat of what Texas has done, where they're going to be bounties that are going to be offered for anyone who assists a woman getting an abortion. Again, it is a medical procedure that is safe and one that has been available to women in this country for almost 50 years, and that can't be lost on any of us.
It is going to have a profound effect on women's abilities to lead their lives to be able to provide for children they already have, for instance.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman, I appreciate your time. And thank you very much for sharing this and obviously for sharing those very, very difficult memories with us as well.
And I want to turn to Mallory Carroll now, the Vice President of Communications at the anti abortion group, Susan B. Anthony List. The group is pouring $72 million, which is its largest political budget ever into at least nine swing states in the upcoming midterms to support candidates who oppose abortion rights and I appreciate your time, Mallory, so thank you.
So let's get to these - what you're doing here, $72 million in the midterms, that is the most money spent in your 30-year history as an organization. Abortion rights advocates, though, are going to spend more than that, apparently 150 million and now they've got a very energized base as a result of this draft ruling. Are you worried you're going to be outmatched?
MALLORY CARROLL, VICE PRESIDENT, SUSAN B. ANTHONY LIST: Thank you, Erin, so much for having me on. I really do appreciate the opportunity. There's no doubt that this draft decision is going to energize both sides. But I think for the pro-life movement, if the final official decision resembles this draft, that it's going to be proof of concept for the pro-life movement and for our political policy and cultural engagement these last 50 years working to get to this point where we have the court take their thumb, hopefully off the scale and allow states to pass laws that reflect the values of the people in the States.
So certainly, I think it's going to energize people on both sides of this issue. But historically, the intensity gap has favored pro-life candidates. If you look at the breakdown, where for people for whom abortion is their number one issue, there are more people on the pro- life side than the pro choice.
And those states that you showed we've been going door to door in these battlegrounds and we're talking not just to pro-life Americans who don't always go out to vote in midterm elections, but also to people we've identified as persuadable. Women in the suburbs, Hispanic voters, people who are thinking of voting for a Democratic candidate based on their support for something else, whether it's immigration or health care, there's obviously a lot of issues that Americans care about.
But the problem is that the contrast between the two sides on this issue, abortion on demand up until the moment of birth, paid for by taxpayers, performed by non doctors, I mean, that's some of the stuff in the Women's Health Protection Act that the Senate is pushing right now juxtapose with reasonable pro-life protections, like at 15 weeks, like you said, like Western Europe 47 out of 50 Western European nations limit abortion at 15 weeks or much earlier.
BURNETT: So just - I understand - and I did raise that point ...
BURNETT: ... but to the point that the Congresswoman was making and, obviously we're having this conversation as to American citizens also as to women. She was at 17 weeks, right, that was life or death.
These deadlines do seem arbitrary and when you start looking at these situations and for the vast majority of people, right, an abortion is something they never wanted to have, they never wanted to be in that position. It's a tragic and profound loss. Do you see her point?
CARROLL: As a pregnant woman myself at 14 weeks, I was so moved by the Congresswoman's remarks and I noticed that she acknowledged the fact that she lost a child and I think that that's really important that we have to acknowledge that we know more now than we ever have before about the development of the child in the womb.
The fact that there are two people in every abortion decision and so there being a room for justice and mercy to acknowledge the life of the second person in every abortion decision and to start to move the United States back in line with modern science and medicine, and the rest of the world to really humanize and modernize our lives.
That will be the hopeful outcome of overturning Roe versus Wade is that we can start to move to a more of a middle ground. There are obviously people who don't support abortion at, without limits, and people who, want to have abortion at some point. There's room for nuance here and what we want to have is a really robust debate at the state level and in Congress about where there is consensus.
And most Americans do agree, according to recent polling, with Mississippi's 15-week marker. I mean, this is a point by which the unborn child can feel pain. And we're hopeful of that and we - what we've seen thus far from the states is that they're always including exceptions for these very dramatic cases where the life of the mother is at risk.
BURNETT: So at the beginning of the program, I don't know if you heard, I did play from the confirmation hearings of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. They both spoke about Roe. They spoke about it as a precedent. They spoke about it as law of the land. They spoke about it as something that was the way things are and that they had no intention to changing, very clear that they wouldn't vote to overturn it from what we heard. But, obviously, it appears here in this draft that they will do just that.
Now, putting aside, obviously, your beliefs and what you've committed your career to doing, do you think they lied under oath or misled?
CARROLL: I don't think they lied. I think that they can't speak to the decisions that they're going to face as Supreme Court justices. There are dozens. The Supreme Court chose the Dobbs case, but there are dozens of pieces of abortion litigation that are in the lower courts right now that could have addressed the same question.
And so if that's what's before the court, they decided to take it up and they have to examine everything that's in front of them. I mean, think about some of the most powerful decisions that we rely on today were overturning of precedents. Think of the Lawrence case, the Loving versus Virginia, Obergefell, even Plessy v. Ferguson. I mean, these are ...
CARROLL: ... there is a - there is precedent for the court over ruling past precedents.
BURNETT: Yes. Well, that is an interesting point. I mean, it certainly seems to me they at least misled but you are, of course, it is true, right? You can't - there are going to be times you overturn precedent and that is what happens. All right. Thank you very much, Mallory, I appreciate your time. Thanks.
CARROLL: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, multiple explosions across Ukraine tonight in Lviv in western Ukraine. There were targeting of power plants knocking out power to a major city. We're live in Ukraine tonight.
Plus, a top Russian state television anchor reporting Mariupol tonight. Why the timing of his appearance may be significant?
And it is election night in Ohio. This is a crucial one, three major Republican candidates for Senate, only one says it's time to move on from Trump. He's getting last minute momentum, but we're going to see who wins tonight. John King is OUTFRONT at the magic wall.
BURNETT: Tonight, several missile attacks reported across Ukraine. One Ukrainian official saying a cruise missile was on its way to Kyiv before it was shot down by air defenses. In Lviv blast targeting a railway system as Russia tries to block shipments of military weapons into Ukraine.
It comes as Russia increases its assault on the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol where hundreds of civilians remain trapped inside including children, according to a Ukrainian official. One of the commanders inside told us 20 children were there last night.
President Zelenskyy saying moments ago that more than 150 people were able to get out of the plant in total during a brief evacuation effort brokered by the UN and the Red Cross. One woman says her family had been underneath that plant since March 2, two months ago, telling CNN, "I never thought the Earth could shake like that. It didn't just shake. The bunker jumped and trembled." Survivors sharing truly harrowing stories as Russia ramps up its attack across Ukraine.
Sam Kiley is OUTFRONT.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Since Russian rockets destroyed her way and killed her brother, all she has left is her mother and her life.
LUDMILLA, INJURED IN RUSSIAN ARTILLERY ATTACK (through interpreter): All at once grads started falling one by one. They were explosions everywhere opposite the kitchen in the house, the windows and frame going to the room. We're standing there. My brother was making the sign of the cross and I'm shouting.
I turned away from him to look at the house and then another rocket hit and I was trapped under the rubble. I can't see my brother anymore. I fell and I don't even know how I woke up and started pulling myself out. I'm all scratched and battered, I yelled, "Vita, Vita," but he was gone.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KILEY (voice over): Ludmilla's home was flattened in Lysychansk
during the battle for Rubizhne, which is now in Russian hands. Putin's forces have been driving southeast along the Donets River and south for Izium. Russia's stated aim is to capture all of the Donbas and that includes Luhansk and Donetsk provinces. That go Governor of Luhansk says that Ukraine can hold the Russians back for now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERHIY HAYDAY, HEAD OF THE LUHANSK REGION MILITARY ADMINISTRATION: (Foreign language).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY (voice over): But he says, "We need powerful long range artillery and that unfortunately is not here yet and it could completely change the whole war."
"Without the heavy weapons already promised by the U.S. and other Western allies," he says, "the Russians will destroy everything with artillery and mortars. They destroy with aircraft. They use helicopters. They're just wiping everything off the face of the earth, so there's nothing left to hang on to."
For Ukraine, this is an existential battle. Reinforcements are being rushed to the front lines, but there's no sign of the heavy weapons needed to block a Russian advance, much less reverse it. The doctor says Ludmilla will be moved west for more treatment, but their fate and that of a 96 year old mother is unknown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DMYTRO BONDAR, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: (Foreign language).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY (voice over): "We simply cannot physically handle so many wounded with such severe injuries," he says. This elderly woman a victim of Russian shelling that morning joins the ward and more than 13 million other Ukrainians have fled their homes to escape Ludmilla's fate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUDMILLA (through interpreter): I was brought here naked. I have nothing at all. No money, no documents, nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY (voice over): Yet, her very survival is a small victory over Putin because she's been neither beggared nor beaten.
(END VIDEOTAPE) KILEY (on camera): Now, Erin, as a recent visit we paid to the front
line up the road towards Izium, that very important thrust being made by the Russians is being held back by the artillery being fired back at them by the Ukrainians. This is not just a one direction war, the Ukrainians are fighting back ferociously. The Russians are making very small incremental progress in this northern front and I think that is why the Governor there underlined the critical need for the much more sophisticated NATO weaponry that really could turn the war around here. It really could put the Ukrainians on the front foot, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Sam, thank you very much.
OUTFRONT now, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE, Michael Carpenter. And ambassador, I really appreciate your time tonight. You have been warning that Russia is ready to annex Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, the entire oblast and could also declare Kherson an independent republic. What more can you tell us about Putin's plans and the timing here?
MICHAEL CARPENTER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE ORG. FOR SECURITY & COOPERATION IN EUROPE: Yes. So, thanks, Erin. We have credible information that Russia is planning to possibly annex these two regions of Ukraine as early as mid-May and that they are looking at possibly conducting a sham referendum in Kherson oblast to declare a so-called People's Republic similar to what they've done in Donetsk and Luhansk.
And this is part of the Kremlin's playbook, we've seen this before. And so they have replaced local officials with Russian proxies and puppets. They've cut cell phone and internet coverage so that they can stop reliable information from getting in. They have decreed that they're going to use the Russian ruble. So we're looking very closely to see if they execute on this plan, but we do have indications that this could be afoot.
BURNETT: And, of course, that would sizably - they'll be biting off larger and larger chunks of Ukraine if they do this. Ambassador, U.S. and Western officials have also said that Putin could formally declare war on May 9th and that would basically from a technical perspective, that would allow him, right, to have a draft, mass conscription.
Pope Francis today, though, said that the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, told him that Putin actually plans to end the war on that day. Which, of course, is an important day in Russian history sort of a patriotic so-called victory day. Are you seeing any indication that Orban is correct?
CARPENTER: We're seeing Erin absolutely no indications that Putin is about to end this war. Although it has been an abject failure for Russia, they lost the battle of Kyiv in Ukraine, one, but we see all indications that they're refocusing and regrouping their forces in the south and east. And in fact, a large offensive is underway right now in the Donbas. No indications whatsoever that that is about to abate.
BURNETT: So Russia Ambassador is putting out new numbers today, saying more than 11,000 Ukrainians have been taken from Eastern Ukraine to Russia in just the past 24 hours. These are Russians numbers. And the Russian Defense Ministry says so far in the war, more than 1 million Ukrainians, 200,000 of them children have been taken in to Russia.
And we know from many reports, that thousands of Ukrainians, 10s of thousands, hundreds of thousands perhaps are being held against their will at these so-called filtration camps.
And many forcibly being taken to Russia. What information do you have about the filtration camps and about Ukrainians being forced to Russia against their will?
CARPENTER: Well, we're getting a lot of reports of these filtration camps and indeed, there have been eye-witness accounts, people who have either managed somehow escape or, I think, in the preponderance of cases, have been prisoners that have been traded and came back to Ukraine and have been able to tell their stories either to Ukrainian officials or to the international media.
And the accounts just harrowing, they go to these filtration camps, God knows what happens if you don't quote-unquote pass. There's been a lot of people disappear and they're missing, we don't know what's happening to them. Others come out and alleged torture. So it's just inconceivable we could be talking about this in the year 2022 but that's the reality we're seeing.
BURNETT: What do you think the real number of Ukrainians is who are being put in these filtration camps, or being held against their will by Russia?
CARPENTER: It's impossible to say, at this stage. There's a lot of unknowns. I suspect the figure is higher than whatever the estimates are, at this point in time.
And similarly, when the international committee gets access to the city of Mariupol, what we're going to see there I think is just going to be absolutely harrowing and horrifying. We all saw the images from Bucha, and just how monstrous that was. And all indications of something similar has been happening in Mariupol for the last couple of weeks.
BURNETT: Ambassador Carpenter, I appreciate your time, thank you so much.
CARPENTER: Thanks for having me.
BURNETT: And next, new video just coming in and the Ukrainian strike on Russian military positions, the hit comes as Putin prepares for Russia's so-called Victory Day.
Plus, we are just minutes away from polls closing in Ohio's primary, a vote that tests Trump's influence over the Republican Party.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:35:50]
BURNETT: Tonight, Ukraine's armed forces say that they hit at least two Russian military positions on Russian occupied Snake Island, in the Black Sea. You are looking at new video showing the military drone striking an area between a building and a communications tower. You'll also see a number of explosions in the second location.
It is unclear exactly when these strikes took place, but, they come the video comes as the top Russian state television anchor, Vladimir Solovyov, known to many as Putin's voice, is now in Mariupol. This is a top anchor who is now going in at this time.
The U.S. State Department calls him, quote, the most energetic Kremlin propagandist around. He's on the U.S. sanctions list.
And here he is today with Denis Pushilin, the Russian-backed separatist region of Donetsk. Pushilin is the first known high-ranking official, Russian or Russian back, to visit the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Solovyov, you see, is at a press jacket, putting on a Kevlar vest, about to do a report. His presence as such a senior state media anchor in Mariupol at this moment could be significant.
Senior international correspondent Matthew Chance joins me live from Moscow where the Kremlin is ascribing strict laws how the conflict in Ukraine is described and prohibits the broadcast of information it regards as false.
Matthew, I really appreciate your time. So, let me ask you this basic question, what does it tell you that Vladimir Solovyov is reporting from Mariupol tonight?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting that Solovyov is one of the top anchors on Kremlin- controlled state television. His show attracts, you know, a lot of viewers. He's a very high profile figure, of course, a real major cheer leader of Vladimir Putin and for this, what Russian calls its special military operation inside Ukraine.
So the fact that he's being sent there now, this crucial moment as Russia prepares for the commemorations of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in its Victory Day celebrations coming up on the 9th of May, I think it's significant because it shows you that Russia wants to attract as much attention as possible to what's going on in Mariupol, the battle as they see it, as they're portraying it here against the neo-Nazis in Ukraine.
You know, it's not something they're ashamed of. It's not something they're trying to hide from the Russian public, the fact that Mariupol has been devastated in the way it has been. It's something they are proud of and want to highlight because they are saying this is a sort of struggle to the death if you like, between Russian forces and neo- Nazis in Ukraine, just like the struggle to the death that was fought in the 1940s by the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany.
And so, this popular anchor is going there, I think, to highlight that.
BURNETT: Also, the timing here, Matthew, just going just days ahead of Russia's annual Victory Day, right, which celebrates their victory in World War II, huge day, patriotic day. What are you hearing about Putin's preparations for the so-called Victory Day, which is May 9th?
CHANCE: Yeah, it's a huge day, and every year it's a huge day. I think what's different this year, I think is interesting. No world leaders have been invited to those commemorations. It's a big military parade through the center of Moscow and other cities throughout Russia as well, which gives Russia an opportunity every year to showcase its military. Its latest military hardware will be on show, its intercontinental ballistic missiles will be on show, its nuclear weapons as well, and that sort of ordinarily delivers a warning about Russia's military might.
But that's all the more potent this year, of course, as Russia isn't just, you know, threatening the use of force but is actually using force in a neighboring country, also a possibility that Vladimir Putin could make some pronouncements about this special military operation in neighboring Ukraine as well -- Erin.
BURNETT: Obviously, very significant as we watch that video from 2020, it will be fascinating to see what it looks like this year.
Matthew Chance, thank you very much, reporting live from Moscow tonight.
And next, polls just closing in Ohio, where one Republican has Trump's blessing, the others saying it's time to move on from the former president. Our John King standing by at the magic wall.
BURNETT: Breaking news, on this election night because that's what it is, polls in Ohio just closed. It is a major test of President Trump's grip over the Republican Party. And race to fill the Ohio Senate seat, all eyes tonight are on three candidates, JD Vance, a venture capitalist who Trump endorsed, Josh Mandel, the former treasurer of Ohio, also a vocal Trump supporter and state Senator Matt Dolan, who wants Trump to stop pushing, quote, lies about the election.
So, you know, one of them not like the others. And we're just getting the first votes in from Ohio, only 3 percent reporting so far, OK? So I want to emphasize that, it's very earlier, but with that 3 percent reporting, JD Vance is now in the lead at 26 percent, Dolan at 25, and Mandel at 21. So a lead but obviously extremely close and only 3 percent.
CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT in Cincinnati.
Jeff, Trump was in Ohio over the weekend to campaign for JD Vance.
Is there a sense of how large Trump is looming over this election as we're just starting to see the results tick in now?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Erin, there's no doubt, the former president is looming very large. Yes, he was here in Ohio, it was actually about two weekends ago. But in television ads, you can really not turn on the TV here, every few moments, President Trump's voice is on, touting that endorsement for JD Vance.
Before that endorsement, about two and a half weeks ago, JD Vance was about in fourth or even fifth place. People in Ohio largely do not know him. He's not nearly as familiar to the primary electorate but that endorsement certainly propelled his candidacy. But even in the final days of this race, the closing hours of this race, there were a lot of Ohio Republicans were still unsure about him and whether they would or would not follow the former president's lead.
Take a listen to one voter we spoke to a few days ago outside Columbus, Lora Yank.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORA YANK, OHIO VOTER: Do I like President Trump? Yes. Do I feel everything that Trump says or do I think that he's, you know, the ultimate source? No. God's the ultimate source and I rely on my own sense of judgment, research.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: So that really is the question, how many people followed Trump's lead, how many did not. That will be resolved this evening, but Josh Mandel also splitting a lot of that Trump support. So Erin, as the polls are closing, Republicans I'm talking to here believe a low turn-out race really leaves wide open which one of the three candidates are likely to come out on top tonight.
BURNETT: And, you know, we mentioned one of them not like the others, the top three candidates and that was the one that didn't seek Trump's endorsement, Dolan. So what are Republicans saying about him?
ZELENY: People are talking about him considerably in the final days of this race. You're right, Erin, he was unlike the others as the top four candidates really trying to outdo themselves to get Trump's endorsement, Dolan was not a never Trumper, liked Trump's policy but not his personality, says the party need to see move on.
And that message appears to be catching on in the final days of this race. So, we are watching him closely this evening, could he, potentially, come around the side if you will and find a narrow victory. We'll find out in the coming hours, but this is a big test of President Trump's strength, no doubt, Erin. Every Tuesday in the month of May, the former president, not on the ballot but his endorsements are so watching them very carefully.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jeff Zeleny. As these results start to tick in, at about 3 percent right now, with that, JD Vance with a very tinny, tiny lead, at 3 percent. Our John King at the magic wall ready to break down everything as we get it here over the next couple of minutes.
BURNETT: First results just coming into CNN for Ohio's crucial GOP Senate primary. Polls just closing across the state, and it could decide who is going to control the Senate in November.
So, let's go to John King because he's at the magic wall.
So, John, as you are there, what are the numbers showing so far?
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Finally, Erin, we'll get to count votes, not talk about races, but watch these primaries play out.
You mentioned the numbers, JD Vance is ahead at the moment, a little bit bigger than it was before you at the break after Jeff Zeleny, 2,300 votes at the moment. Let's focus on this one first, only about 5 percent. This will take a while.
Ohio's history, you should get a quick kind of votes from several counties and it slows down a bit. So, we'll see who that plays out. So, if you look at the map, you see some counties for Vance, some for Matt Dolan, as he's a state senator, some for Josh Mandel, the former state treasurer. The two most conservative, Mandel is very Trumpian.
Dolan, as you noted with Jeff, is creating a little bit difference. He says he is not anti-Trump, but he says it is time to put the big lie away and focus on the election.
So, what do you see in this map, not a lot yet. Here's one thing I would watch, Erin, as we go forward in the hours ahead. This is Columbus, Franklin County, it's the largest, most populous county in the state, the capital, political establishment.
Dolan is running ahead by a healthy margin, about 10 percent. Can you keep that up? Is there Republican establishment, traditional suburban Republicans, are they coming to vote for State Senator Matt Dolan. If that's the case, that would be significant. His family owns the Cleveland Guardians, former Cleveland Indians, that is up here, the state's second largest county. That is one of Trump's weakest counties.
So, Republicans in Cuyahoga County probably less likely to say, oh, Trump's for JD Vance, I had to be for JD Vance. This is one of the places where we saw in 2018 and 2020, the suburban revolt against Trump.
But make no mistake, President Trump won the state by eight points. It's a strong Trump state. We're going to count these votes as we got thorugh.
BURNETT: And what else are you seeing in Ohio now?
KING: So, things are testing. We are early in the primary season. We look at Ohio, and say this could happen again, as we go down and down through the calendar.
One other thing to look for in Ohio, Mike DeWine, had been on your program many times during COVID, he is the incumbent Republican governor. If you are in charge during COVID, sometimes people are looking to have a pinata moment, if you will, because they're so frustrated. Mike DeWine at the moment, 6 percent in well ahead of his two Republican challengers, including Jim Renacci, the former congressman who has been a pro-Trump like candidate.
Mike DeWine looks like right now he is running ahead comfortably. You watch that and you see to see if there's anti-incumbency out there. How much of a split is there in the Republican Party?
One more, Erin, to watch, I want to bring up the House results. There are several House primaries, but the one we're watching, no results yet. It is the 11th district here in Cleveland. Chantel Brown took the seat of now Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge. She bet Nina Turner, former Bernie Sanders acolyte in the last election, progressives are trying again.
We talk about Republican tensions all the time, what is the role of Trump, how anti Trump -- there are some tensions in the Democratic Party playing out to an Ohio throughout the primary season. We will watch that in Ohio's 11th district.
BURNETT: An important point.
All right. So, now, you also mention that this is the first of several key primaries this month, who are the races that you are most focused on from here?
KING: So, let's pop it out. I am focused on hundreds of them. How much time do you have? This time is short.
I love them all, as you know. Let's focus on some of these first Senate races. Senate races where President Trump has endorsed Republican candidates. May is going to test Trump a lot because you have Vance in Ohio tonight.
You have Pennsylvania next month, where Trump is on the second candidate, Sean Parnell dropped out, Dr. Oz. Then North Carolina, then Georgia, then Alabama, then Arkansas. So by the end of the month, we will have a pretty good scorecard for how Trump is doing with his personal endorsements.
This is the Senate races, and, Erin, I want to talk about quickly the governor side as well, because Trump is also deeply involved in some of these governor races. You can see the states from the West Coast all the way to the East Coast. And, again, just this month, we learned in Georgia -- grudge match, David Purdue, we will learn in Arkansas, the former press secretary, Sarah Sanders.
So, May will teach us a lot about Trump's way over grassroots Republicans.
KING: All right. John King, thank you very much.
So, let's go to the anchor of CNN's "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY", Abby Phillip, and co-anchor of "STATE OF THE UNION", Dana Bash.
You know, Dana, it is interesting looking at John's numbers, you can have two candidates who are fully Trumpers, right, one of whom Trump endorsed but the other did not, Josh Mandel. Between two of them, they could get well over 50 percent, yet Dolan could win, which would not be the will of Republicans overall.
But this could occur tonight. How large is stumble Trump looming in this race?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is really hard to overstate how large Donald Trump is looming for several reasons. The biggest reason is that Donald Trump himself inserted himself in a very aggressive way. He wants to be a player in Ohio. He sees Ohio as Trump country. It is, as John said, a state in the last election, even though he lost, he did win Ohio by eight points. I am old enough to know when Ohio was a real swing state on the presidential level. It is not anymore.
And so, the fact that everybody, except for Matt Dolan, John talked about him, who is a businessman and is running as more of a traditional, pre-Trump conservative, everybody else has been tripping over one another to be the Trump candidate. Even after those who are not JD Vance did not get his endorsement, some of them are kind of ignoring that and making the argument that they are the most Trump like.
Josh Mandel, he has the culture wars tied up for sure. I was watching and add that he has out this morning, where he says that Black Lives Matter is racist. I mean, that is the kind of attempt that people like him are trying to put out there in order to pull that sector of the GOP electorate towards him. It is hard, as you mentioned, the Trump base, so to speak, is splintered amongst potential candidates.
BURNETT: It is amazing, Abby, as Dana points out, you would not know by listening to them who got the Trump endorsement because they are all sycophantic talking about him. Here are JD Vance and Josh Mandel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH MANDEL (R-OH), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: I am going to Washington to advance a Trump, American First agenda.
JD VANCE (R-OH), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: The same organizations that are trying to take me down in 2022 are the same groups that tried to take Trump down in 2016. MANDEL: I was the first statewide official to support President Trump
here in Ohio.
VANCE: He is the best president of my lifetime, and he revealed the corruption in this country like nobody else.
MANDEL: I believe this election was stolen from Donald J. Trump.
REPORTER: Yes or no, though, simply, do you feel the election was stolen?
VANCE: Yeah, I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Only one of them got his endorsement. But the point there, Abby, loud and clear.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY: I think that Ted Cruz said it best. In this particular race, everybody is trying to show off their Donald Trump tattoos that they have on their rear ends. I think that is basically where the Republican Party is right now. This race is unusual maybe only because of the Matt Dolan factor, in the sense that he used that to differentiate himself from the field that is really just about Trump.
Honestly, from Trump's perspective, he picked a candidate in this race, yes, but he really does not lose even if it is Mandel. At the end of the day, all these candidates really want to be as close to him as possible. I think that is why the stakes, from Trump's perspective, when you ask the question, why did he bother to weigh in a lot of these races? From his perspective, at the end of the day, he still comes out a winner, no matter which candidate ends up winning. Even if, frankly, it is Matt Dolan, because Dolan has said that he's not anti Trump, he just want to put the big lie behind him.
I think Trump is, at the end of the day, going to do what it takes to have a Republican win any of these races.
BURNETT: All right. I do want to say, as we've been talking here, we have a new development. We can project on the Democratic side in the Senate race in Ohio that Tim Ryan will be the winner there with 72 percent, obviously, very well known figure in Ohio politics. We can project that. Dana, that would be Kim Ryan.
It is interesting in the context what you're saying, Dana, that this is a stay that you speak a swing state. We still go there on election night. I never stand there and freezing, talking about you cannot win the White House without Ohio. It is a red state right now.
BASH: It is on the presidential level. They do have a retiring Republican senator, Rob Portman, that's what this is all about to try to fill his seat. And a Democrat, Sherrod Brown, who said certainly not consider himself moderate. He is a proud progressive.
There are differences and that is why the person who wins on the Republican side, Mitch McConnell is holding his breath right now because they really want to keep this in GOP hands.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both so much, as we continue to watch the crucial results in Ohio. Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" starts now.