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Erin Burnett Outfront
U.S. Provided Intel that Helped Ukraine Target Russian Warship; Ukrainian Fighter: Russia has been Trying to "Storm" Steel Plant, Several Units have Already Entered Plant's Territory; Israel: Putin Apologized for Hitler Comments; Hillary Clinton: Leaked Draft Opinion on Roe "Incredibly Dangerous"; Texas Braces for Lifting of COVID Rule, Expected Migrant Surge. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 05, 2022 - 19:00 ET
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Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, CNN learning that U.S. Intelligence helped the Ukrainians target that Russian warship that sank in the Black Sea. This as there's a race against time at the Mariupol steel plant.
Plus, Russia just responding to a New York Times report saying U.S. Intelligence has helped Ukraine kill several Russian generals. What is the Kremlin saying to that stunning revelation?
And the manhunt expands for the Alabama corrections officer who's disappeared with an inmate. This as there's new leads in that search. The sheriff in the case is my guest. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, we are just learning that U.S. Intelligence helped Ukraine target Russia's prized warship last month the Moskva with anti-ship cruise missiles. Sources familiar telling CNN that Ukrainian forces spotted the warship in the Black Sea, then called their American contacts for confirmation that it was in fact the Moskva. This after the White House pushes back on a report earlier today from The New York Times.
This report from the Times said that U.S. Intelligence helped Ukraine kill Russian generals. And we know so many Russian generals have been killed, unprecedented number. This as Ukrainians are fighting to the last man in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. That plant is now under full assault by Putin's forces.
Moments ago, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy warning that the shelling of the planet is not stopping, the wounded inside are trapped and the Ukrainian commander inside tells me they know they may not emerge alive. Russia tonight is racing to lock up its control of all of Mariupol the last town still partially under Ukrainian control that is keeping Putin from completing that coveted land bridge connecting Russian controlled areas to Crimea.
Tonight, Russian officials changing road signs there from Ukrainian to Russian, so when you're driving into Mariupol, Russian, and Russian troops putting up a statue of an elderly woman holding a Soviet flag, Soviet flag USSR.
So at this hour, it is that steel plant that stands between Putin and all in control of Mariupol. And the situation inside that plant is so dire that Mariupol tells us if there is hell in the world, it is in Azovstal. The Ukrainian commander inside tells me that about 200 civilians including 20 children are still there.
According to the Kremlin, Putin says today that the Russian military was ready to ensure the safe exit of civilians from the plant, but in exchange, he said the Ukrainians had to order the 'militants to lay' down their arms. So I asked the commander who's inside the plant for his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENIS SHLEGA, COMMANDER, 12TH OPERATIONAL BRIGADE, NATIONAL GUARD OF UKRAINE (through interpreter): Nobody is going to lay their arms and even in quotes it is unacceptable to call militants the members of the regular Ukrainian Armed Forces, National Guard, Border Guards in the Azov and no one is going to lay down arms. We are prepared to different options of negotiations but not to lay down the arms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I will have much more with that commander in just a moment. Because this battle to the death in Mariupol comes as the U.S. assesses Russia isn't anywhere close to where it wants to be in the fight overall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: In the Donbas region, we would still assess that the Ukrainians are putting up a very stiff resistance and that the Russians have not made the progress that we believe they expected to make by this point. That's not to say they haven't made any progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, the progress they have made has come as a result of Russia's nonstop bombardment of eastern Ukraine, missile strikes today in Kramatorsk damaging a school and a kindergarten, wounding at least six. Missile strikes today as far west as Dnipro as well on that map. I'm going to a report on the ground in Ukraine tonight, Scott McLean
is there. And Scott, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy just gave his nightly address. I mentioned one part of it when he said the shelling of that plant, that last stand of the Ukrainian forces in Mariupol is not stopping. What else is he saying about the situation in Mariupol?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, he says imagine the hell of two months of bombing, shelling and constant death nearby, he says that shelling is constant, despite the fact that there are women and children still trapped inside.
He also says that Ukrainian negotiators are doing everything they can not just to save civilians inside the plant, but also to save soldiers who are there and many of whom are wounded. Those troops would very much like to see some kind of an arrangement so that they can get out alive.
But they say they will not leave without a weapon in their hands.
MCLEAN (voice over): This is the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, the Azovstal steel plant, under what a city official calls nonstop shelling and assault by Russian forces. Inside an untold number of civilians are still trapped as a bloody battle rages.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPTAIN SVIATOSLAV PALAMAR, STATIONED INSIDE MARIUPOL'S AZOVSTAL STEEL PLANT: (Foreign language).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN (voice over): The commander of Ukrainian troops in the plant saying Thursday, fierce combat is ongoing. After he says Russian forces breach the compound's barrier. The commander begging for transport of the bodies of soldiers who've died and weeks of violence at the complex, it leads for more evacuations of civilians still trapped inside. United Nations says it's hard to know exactly how many remain, but they are trying to send help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN GRIFFITHS, UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL ENVOY FOR UKRAINE: The convoy is proceeding to get to Azovstal. Hopefully to receive those civilians remaining in that bleak hell that they have inhabited for so many weeks and months and take them back to safety.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCLEAN (voice over): On Thursday, Putin promised safe passage for civilians out of Mariupol and the Kremlin denied an assault on Azovstal. But as Russian forces besieged the city from all sides, Ukrainian troops say the plant is a final holdout for Mariupol's last offenders as the enemy closes in.
An exceptionally bitter fight for a city that's vital to Putin's war effort in Ukraine. Full control over Mariupol completes a Russian- controlled land corridor between its mainland and Russian controlled Crimea. It also means Russian access to the port city's key export hubs on the Black Sea, a major blow to Ukraine, whose remaining soldiers fight at all costs to protect the strategically important city.
Inside the Azovstal steel plant, Ukrainian forces singing a battle hymn. "It's sweeter to die in battle than to live in chains as slaves," the chant. There to fight for Mariupol and Ukraine until the bitter end.
MCLEAN (on camera): And just like the last round, Ukrainian officials are unlikely to say anything consequential about this evacuation effort until the buses have actually left the plant to avoid saying anything that might jeopardize the success of the operation. Meanwhile, Erin, Ukrainian officials are also trying to organize a separate evacuation corridor for people trapped in the broader city outside of the plant for tomorrow.
BURNETT: All right. Scott, thank you very much.
And now I want to show you more of my conversation with the Ukrainian commander inside the steel plant. I began by asking him to tell all of us what is happening there today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHLEGA (through interpreter): Today, during the day the enemy has been trying to storm Azovstal, several units have already entered the territory of the plant, so there has been fierce fighting on the territory of the plant today.
BURNETT: Are there - Putin obviously has said that his order to Russian troops to avoid going into the plant is still in place, it's clear from what you're saying that that is not true. Are there troops inside the plant near where you are now, what do you know about their location?
SHLEGA (through interpreter): Well, we can see that, obviously, his words are not true. This is another lie. The storm the plant is going on as several units have already managed to come through to the territory of the plant supported by tanks, aviation and also ships from the sea. So our guys are carrying out the fighting already on the territory of the plant.
BURNETT: How much longer can you continue fighting, Commander?
SHLEGA (through interpreter): I can't tell you the exact number of hours, days or months how long we will be able to carry on the resistance, but I can definitely tell you that we will be resisting until the very end. BURNETT: Commander, when you say resisting till the very end, it is
hard for anyone watching to truly understand the courage and bravery of you and your peers who are in their fighting. Do you think that you will be able to come out of that plant to return to your life and your family?
SHLEGA (through interpreter): You are very right when you say that we are thinking about ourselves in the very last turn, because we would very much want our remaining civilians to be evacuated from the plant as well as our wounded soldiers and the bodies of our dead. So, with regard to ourselves, of course, we would like to return to our normal life, but this is not our first priority.
BURNETT: Mr. Commander, thank you so much.
SHLEGA: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And the other breaking news at this hour, CNN learning that U.S. Intelligence helped Ukrainians target and sink Putin's prized warship, the Moskva. Natasha Bertrand joins me now from Washington. Natasha, what more can you tell us about the U.S.' role? This was - obviously, this was a crucial moment in the war was when Ukraine successfully sank that prized jewel in the Russian fleet.
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Erin, a huge blow to the Russian military that was and it was seen as a major Ukrainian victory. And what we're learning now is that the U.S. actually provided targeting intelligence to the Ukrainians with regard to the location of that worship. What had happened is the Ukrainian forces actually saw that warship in the Black Sea and they were wondering whether that was the Moskva. So they called their American counterparts to get that confirmation so that they wouldn't necessarily waste their cruise missiles on something that wasn't a major target, right?
Now, the United States did provide them, we are told, with the exact location of that ship and did confirm that it was in fact, the Moskva. But it's been emphasized to us that the United States did not know that the Ukrainians were actually going to target the ship itself with their own missiles.
The U.S. has been providing Ukraine with maritime intelligence to give them a general sense of awareness about the kind of activity that is going on in the Black Sea, because, of course, those ships, those Russian ships have been firing missiles on to Ukrainian territory. So it was again emphasized to us that there was no U.S. role in the decision that was made to target the ship.
However, it remains to be seen, of course, whether Russia is going to appreciate that distinction, right, because, of course, they have threatened that any U.S. and NATO role in this war, as it grows, could be susceptible to a Russian attack. BURNETT: All right. Natasha, thank you very much. It's obviously
sobering and this comes on the heels of learning that U.S. Intelligence, The New York Times reporting was used in the targeting of Russian generals. I want to bring in James Clapper because he is the former Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, and also retired Lieutenant General in the U.S. Air Force.
So General, when you hear this, that the U.S. Intelligence was used, obviously, the sources telling Natasha, oh, but we didn't know it was going to be - when we confirmed its location and what it was that they were going to use that to actually strike it. Okay. Do you buy that? I mean, it is a pretty significant piece of reporting to find that this ship was brought down in part because of U.S. information.
LT. GEN. JAMES CLAPPER (RET.), CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Erin, when you when you share intelligence with a partner, particularly one that is involved in combat for its national survival and you're sharing intelligence with them, you have to assume that they're going to use it to the maximum benefit for them. And that carries with it, by the way, the responsibility for U.S. Intelligence to ensure that what is provided to Ukrainians is accurate.
And I've heard complaints from some people about we're not providing intelligence rapidly enough. Well, it's up to - the responsibility is on us to ensure that the intelligence that we are providing is accurate as well is timely. But once you share that intelligence with a partner, particularly one who's going to use it to kill people and destroy things, that's part of the deal.
BURNETT: So, look, the administration understands that this is a really loaded thing, because they're pushing back, the White House is pushing back on The New York Times report that says the Intel the United States is sharing with Ukraine is helping them kill Russian generals. And we know it's been an unprecedented amount - a number of Russian generals who've been killed.
The White House says that that New York Times report is misleading and irresponsible. They say, "We do not provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals." Again, 12 Russian generals, Ukraine says, they've killed. But again, what do you make of that denial? We don't provide intelligence with the intent to kill Russian generals.
That's not saying they're not providing intelligence about the Russian generals.
CLAPPER: As I said, the intent may not have been specifically to provide the intel - share intelligence with the Ukrainian so they can kill Russian generals. But if you share intelligence that gives the Ukrainians situational awareness, if you help either identify or reinforce, for example, where a headquarters is, Russian headquarters, well, that's where generals generally gravitate is to headquarters.
So once again, once you make the determination, the policy determination, you're going to share intelligence with a partner, particularly one who's involved in combat, then they're going to use it to the best of their ability and to the maximum extent possible.
BURNETT: So General, this information is now public, in terms of how the intelligence is being shared. Do you think it will have an impact on the war?
CLAPPER: Well, as somebody who spent a lifetime in intelligence, all of those - it gives me hives when these things are publicly revealed. So the effect could be, although it hasn't been so far, that the Russians could tighten up their operational security, which has been absolutely dismal. And accordingly, the intelligence perhaps might dry up. There's always the concern about protection of sources and methods.
So to that extent, I suppose it could affect the war, but it's not only javelins and stingers that are killing Russians and destroying equipment, intelligence is a weapon as well.
BURNETT: Gen. Clapper, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
And next, Vladimir Putin apologizing. You heard me right, because this is what the Israeli Prime Minister says happened today and we're going to tell you why.
Plus, the Dow seeing its ugliest day of the year falling more than 1,000 points. Horrible question to ask is whether the worst is still ahead.
And new photos of a corrections officer in her possible disguise. She allegedly helped a murder suspect escape. Authorities also releasing pictures of the suspects tattoos and I'm going to speak to the Sheriff about the nationwide manhunt.
BURNETT: Tonight, Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett saying Vladimir Putin apologized to him. And it says that Putin, in phone call, apologized for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comments. You may remember the appalling comments when Lavrov claimed that Adolf Hitler had Jewish blood, obviously historically discredited claim. Matthew Chance is live in Moscow, where the Kremlin imposed strict laws regarding how Russia's presence in Ukraine is described.
So Matthew, let me ask you this, Russia's readout of this call that happened between Prime Minister Bennett and Putin had no mention of Putin apologizing, what are you hearing?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, none of at all and that's because this is a, I think, a very embarrassing incident for the Russians. They have angered and upset a country Israel that has up until now not joined the sort of international condemnation and the international sanctions efforts against Russia.
And so, it's one of its few, I would say allies, but one of its - one of the few countries out there that is not being super critical of Russia for its sending its troops into Ukraine, what Russia calls its special military operation. What the Kremlin have said is that the only topics that were discussed they've made public, the readout from the Kremlin said they discussed the situation in Ukraine, specifically the situation in Mariupol and the Azovstal steel factory.
And then they went on to talk about congratulating Israel on its Independence Day, which was today, by the way, and commemorating Victory Day on May the 9th, which was the commemoration of the end of the Second World War, basically, the Soviet's defeat, as they call it, of Nazi, the victory over Nazi Germany. Both countries celebrate it on May the 9th. But yes, you're right, absolutely no mention at all of any apology for the words of the Russian Foreign Minister.
BURNETT: So the Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov today spoke out about something that obviously is getting a lot of attention around the world. He said the Russian military, his words, are well aware that the U.S. shares intelligence and his words again, other parameters with the Ukrainian military on an ongoing basis.
Now, his remarks came after that New York Times report. Of course, Matthew, that said U.S. Intelligence has helped kill Russian generals. The White House is pushing back on that story saying that there was never any such intent. What exactly is Peskov saying here?
CHANCE: Well, what is it exactly - well, first of all, he's not confirming that the intelligence has led to the killing of any Russian generals. What he's saying is that they are very aware that the United States, that Britain, that NATO share intelligence with Ukrainian forces. They're aware that they give obviously weapons to Ukrainian forces as well or three of those entities, the U.S., Britain and NATO.
And what Peskov said is that this, first of all, does not make the military operation that we are conducting any shorter, but it also doesn't prevent us from achieving our military objectives if I can slightly paraphrase what he said there. And so it's not exactly a condemnation, but it's a critique of that action of providing weapons and intelligence to Ukraine. It's lengthening the conflict is what the Russians say, and it's not going to stop the conflict from achieving Russia's aims.
BURNETT: Matthew Chance, thank you very much.
And next, the disastrous day for stocks and this is bad, worst day of the year, brings back memories of the financial crisis. Inflation fears, growing concerns about a severe recession. Can President Biden do anything about it? James Carville will be OUTFRONT.
And sounding the alarm in Texas, local officials, including plenty of Democrats, like this mayor, warning the President and his border policy is going to backfire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't expect the locals to basically rescue a federal plan.
BURNETT: Tonight, Wall Street's worst day of the year. The Dow plunging 1,063 points amid growing fears about rising inflation and possible severe recession. This is a drop so big that it brings back memories, to many, of the days of the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009 where, I would look up on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and see a market up 800 and then down 700 and then down 1,600 and just that sort of fear is how it felt.
Coming just one day after a new CNN poll shows that two-thirds of all voters right now disapprove of how President Biden is handling the economy. Economic analyst Jim Bianco is OUTFRONT to start our coverage here.
So Jim, 1,063 points, two-thirds of the - of all voters disapprove of President Biden's handling of the economy. How bad of a sign was what we saw in the Dow today for the state of the economy?
JIM BIANCO, PRESIDENT, BIANCO RESEARCH; ECONOMIC ANALYST: It was a very worrisome sign that the stock market and more importantly the bond market, because it also had a bad day too.
And I think the bond market was the leader to the stock market, and that brings back the old Jim Carville line from 1994 that he wanted to be reincarnated into the bond market because it can intimidate everybody, that's what happened today.
Bond yields went up because there's the fear that the Fed doesn't quite have its arms around this inflation problem and the only way they're going to get their arms around this inflation problem is in Wall Street policies, they're going to have to raise rates enough that we have a hard landing or a recession, and that's what spooking the markets, that the only way out of this is going to be economic pain.
And even though this is coming a day after the Federal Reserve chairman said he can pull this off without economic pain, I think the market somewhat repudiated him today.
BURNETT: Is there anything that you think the White House, President Biden can do right now or is this now beyond his control?
BIANCO: Well, the biggest problem in the economy for inflation right now is it's going so well and people are demanding so many things that we're starting to see prices have to move up. If they can do something about the supply chain problem, if they can do something about high gas prices, if they can do something about the soaring food prices, problem is these are not so easily fixable problems.
Food problems is, you know, the war in Ukraine when you start with grain prices, gas, comes back to the war in Ukraine. The supply chain is a mess, COVID lockdowns in China not helping that at all. So if they can solve these problems, yeah, but these are not easy problems to solve and I don't think anybody's got a real solution for 'em other than we're going to have to work through them and this is going to continue to be a problem.
BURNETT: Well, and when you have days like this in the market it makes people really pay attention to the real threats and fears of what a severe recession with 40-year high inflation can mean and that would be a horrible situation.
All right, thank you very much, Jim. So now, somebody that Jim mentioned, a person who knows better than anyone else how the economy can be the winning or losing issue for campaigns is James Carville, who is the lead strategist on Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign.
James, isn't it great to hear yourself quoted from a market analyst (INAUDIBLE)?
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Honestly, I was quite flattered.
BURNETT: Well, I mean --
CARVILLE: I don't think anybody remembers that quote from, I don't know, how many years ago -- I guess 20 -- I don't know --
BURNETT: You know, he emailed our producer today and said I wanted to talk about this quote. It's an important quote. So there you have it, James.
BURNETT: So -- but -- so you hear him talking about how serious this is, how worrisome it is. Obviously, and there's little the White House at this point can do. Whether they could have done something sooner is a separate issue, right? That's in the rearview mirror.
So I mentioned a new CNN poll that found 2/3 of all Americans now disapprove of how President Biden specifically is handling the economy, 2/3 of all Americans. That's bad.
And on top of that, more than 50 percent of Democrats think the economy is in poor shape. That is up 16 percentage points from December, 81 percent of independents think the economy is in poor shape.
OK. These are all bad. There's no good numbers in this entire thing. How big of a problem is this for the president?
CARVILLE: Well, it's a huge problem. Let me tell you other things, a plurality of Americans think that no jobs have been created under Joe Biden, when I think at first 16 months are the best job -- best 16 -- 16 months of any president since World War II in job creation. I mean that, our previous guests point out, there's tremendous demand
here. I'm in Las Vegas right now. I mean, (INAUDIBLE) we have demand, right, they -- just supply chain issues causing a great deal of grief. Shanghai is probably the leading port in the world --
CARVILLE: -- in terms of supply chain.
So they have formidable problems but understand that we've had real good job creation and we've had a real reduction in child poverty. And I don't think people -- I think there's an entire picture of an economy here and I don't think that the people in America are getting -- understanding completely where it is.
There are -- there are some bad things but if we're making these decisions on the faulty assumption that no jobs are created, that's just not true. Jobs have been created left and right.
BURNETT: Well, okay. Now -- and again, I know politics are politics, right? You had some of the COVID spending under Trump and you had some of it under Biden and those jobs, you know, it's a rebound from COVID, but I get it. You get political lines in the sand of who's in charge and who can get credit. So I do hear what you're saying.
BURNETT: But what Americans are feeling perhaps is, well, as COVID ebbed, jobs came back, and now they're faced with this huge inflation and fears of a recession. How do Democrats come back from that in the midterms? Can they come back from it?
CARVILLE: Well, I think -- right, first of all, I think president generally should express confidence. I think that they're really working hard on these supply chain issues.
I think they're really working hard on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. I think that Jerome Powell was reappointed to the applause of everybody in the financial community.
And, you know, we can't -- you know, Clinton administration, if we would mention the stock market on television, Bob Rubin would call you himself, and say, don't say stock market because you don't know what causes markets to do what.
I do share our previous guest along with bond prices falling. That's not going to be good. And hopefully, the bond market will have the sense there's some stability in confidence here.
That's what the president has to do and he's got to express this confidence and give people a sense that he can get things under control.
BURNETT: So what Democrats have been talking about -- and now, look, it's 48 hours past the Roe vs. Wade news, so who knows where things are going to go? But they've been saying, okay, we're going to motivate our base on this.
BURNETT: Hillary Clinton went on CBS and, you know, talked about it, the outrage that people are going to feel is going to -- is going to get people to come to the polls.
Do you think that that's true?
CARVILLE: Well, I don't know. Like a lot of dads today, I've been feeling with some angry and distraught daughters. And I think that's going on in all over the United States.
To date, they have no fear of Democrats. That's what they do this.
Democrats, you got to understand just what a huge even this is in American politics. Democrats won the popular vote. Seven out of the last eight presidential elections, Roe is over 2 to 1 in approval.
And Alito and them said, we don't care. We're not fair and we don't care, and all the Democrats are going to do is sit around and talk about veganism and pronouns. And to some extent, that is a justified opinion that they have.
Now I hope that Secretary Clinton is correct in -- I hope that people understand that Louisiana legislature pass the bill today out of committee that would make a 20-year-old scared young female from Oplin (ph), Louisiana, who chooses to get an abortion charged with homicide.
In Texas, the governor is going to challenge the right of public education for children. In Oklahoma, they're passing bills you can't even get an abortion case for life of the mother. If this doesn't motivate people, if this doesn't get you going, then I can't do anything to help you.
And I tell you who's not helping is these progressive advocacy groups. They don't -- no one cares what they say. No one fears them.
And they need to start dispatching people to Georgia, and North Carolina, and Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and Michigan, and Nevada, and Arizona, and places like that, and get out of Washington, and get out of talking points. And get out there in the field and start registering people and motivating people. That's what I think.
BURNETT: James Carville, thank you. It's great to see you.
CARVILLE: Thank you, Erin. You bet.
BURNETT: And next, desperate migrants lining up at the border as a law that allowed United States officials to turn away more than a million migrants is about to be lifted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How do you deal with thousands of migrants knocking on the doors of America?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And U.S. marshals releasing new photos tonight hoping it would lead to the capture of a dangerous escape inmate and the woman who allegedly helped him. The sheriff leading the case is my guest.
BURNETT: Tonight, a new CNN poll says nearly 60 percent of Americans say now is not the time to end Title 42, which is the law used by federal agents to turn away more than a million migrants from the southern border that some have been turned away over the past two years.
President Biden is lifting the law in just a few weeks, and 74 percent of Americans don't think his administration can handle the surge the migrants to the United States is about to see.
Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rebecca Solloa is the director of this Catholic Charity shelter in Laredo, Texas. A place where she says Border Patrol drops off the migrant overflow from processing centers in South Texas and even from more than a thousand miles away in Huma, Arizona.
Like Joaquina Hormilla, a 23-year-old medical student from Cuba.
So, $50 to $60 a month she says is how much a doctor in Cuba earns.
To prepare for the lifting of Title 42, the pandemic public health order used by federal agents to expel migrants to Mexico, more than 1.8 million times in just two years. Solloa says she opened a second shelter.
REBECCA SOLLOA, CATHOLIC CHARITIES SHELTER IN LAREDO, DIRECTOR: I think there's, in my opinion, might be a mob mentality process.
FLORES: She says about five thousand migrants are waiting in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, alone for Title 42 to lift.
Pastor Lorenzo Ortiz runs four shelters there and shows this video of the 2,000 mostly Haitians who he says arrived a few days ago from nearby cities.
LORENZO ORTIZ, PASTOR: I believe it's because they find out that they were coming in --
FLORES: Ortiz says the Haitians learned in the last week, federal agents were allowing 70 migrants per day to seek asylum at the port of entry under the exception to Title 42 and they travelled to Nuevo Laredo to see if they could, too.
CHRIS MAGNUS, U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION COMMISSIONER: It tells me that there are a lot of desperate people out there.
FLORES: Customs and Border Protection commissioner Chris Magnus, in his first national TV interview, said he wasn't aware of the situation in Nuevo Laredo.
If that is a preview of what the lifting of Title 42 is, how do you deal with thousands of migrants knocking on the doors of America?
MAGNUS: We follow the law and if they meet that criteria, that's what they're going to be entitled to. If they do not meet that criteria, any other number of circumstances could cause them to be expelled or to be prosecuted.
FLORES: During prior migrant surges, images like these showing overcrowded border patrol facilities made headlines especially when children held in custody more than 72 hours allowed by law.
MAGNUS: We have, I think, made a tremendous amount of progress.
FLORES: So this time around, you feel confident children will not be in Border Patrol custody more than 72 hours.
MAGNUS: We do absolutely everything in our capacity to make sure that happens.
FLORES: Ortiz says some of these Haitians were in Del Rio last year, part of the 15,000 under a bridge got deported to Haiti and are now back, this time in Nuevo Laredo.
MAYOR PETE SAENZ (D), LAREDO, TX: Yeah, we don't want the Del Rio situation.
FLORES: Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz, a Democrat, wants Title 42 to remain in place. He fears lifting it could increase human smuggling and violence in his city, because he says houses that stash migrants and drugs are run by local gangs connected to the cartels.
Do you have a message for the Biden administration?
SAENZ: Maybe a plan B, in the event that Plan A doesn't work.
FLORES: Is there a Plan B?
MAGNUS: Whether you call it A, B, C or D, it is comprehensive. It's ready to deal with the challenges coming our way.
FLORES: Solloa plans to do what she can.
SOLLOA: Our job and our mission here is to be ready.
FLORES: She says she does it for migrants like Hormilla who say they're fleeing persecution.
She's looking for freedom, for liberty -- who once in America, feel safe for the first time in their lives.
FLORES (on camera): So how will it work once Title 42 lifts? According to Magnus, the migrants who were waiting in Mexico like the thousands who are in Nuevo Laredo, what you see behind me, will be able to walk up to a port of entry and seek asylum. Erin, migrants have not been able to do that for a very long time.
Now, Magnus didn't give us a capacity, a daily capacity but he says that will be able to happen -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Rosa. Obviously, the eyes of the entire country are now on this story.
Next, new images tonight the feds hope will lead to the capture of an escaped inmate and the corrections officer who allegedly helped him.
And a Ukrainian POW kept alive by Russia only to be used as a pawn in a prisoner swap.
BURNETT: All right. New, we're just finding out the tips to find the inmate on the run and the person allegedly who assisted him now covering all four corners of the United States, it is a nationwide search for inmate Casey White and the corrections officer who allegedly helped them get away, you see on the screen. The sheriff saying they received about half a dozen promising tips but the pair could be anywhere after seven days on the run.
So, I'm going to speak to the sheriff in just a moment.
But, first, Ryan Young is OUTFRONT.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Newly released pictures show Casey White's tattoos and what Vicki White may look like if she changed her hair color. Every detail counts in this manhunt that has investigators asking the public for help identifying the two fugitives.
COMMANDER CHAD HUNT, U.S. MARSHAL GULF COAST REGIONAL FUGITIVE TASK FORCE: We were several hours behind. It wasn't a typical over-the-wall escape. So our investigation does look a little different. We've gotten several hundred and to be quite honest, you know, all the four corners of the United States, we've gotten tips.
YOUNG: As the manhunt enters the seventh day, tips coming in from several states. Investigators widen the search from escaped Alabama inmate Casey White and corrections officer Vicki White, no relation, with reported sightings from Florida to Kentucky. SHERIFF RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: We have several
leads that we're following up on, some look promising. We hope they pan out.
YOUNG: The pair of fugitives getting national attention but so far, the trail remains cold. The U.S. Marshal service released these renderings to highlight the height differences. Casey White House is 6'9", compared to Vicki White who's 5'5".
Their quick escape was caught on video last Friday. Local councilman tells CNN he saw Vicki drive by and nothing seemed suspicious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They drove by slowly. She waved at me twice.
YOUNG: According to the sheriff, the description of the alleged get- away vehicle was never supposed to be released to the public and now investigators concerned they may be driving a different vehicle. The sheriff says a romantic relationship may date back to 2020 and has been corroborated by inmates who came forward.
During that time, Casey White was in state prison awaiting trial on capital murder charges while serving a 75-year murder sentence for 2015 home invasion. The sheriff says Vicki White stayed in touch by phone, he returned to her facility in February awaiting trial appearances and there is mounting evidence of a methodically planned escape on the same day her coworkers were planning her retirement party.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, lots of planning went into this.
YOUNG: Vicki White held respected position as assistant director of corrections at the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office. The county's DA who worked with her for 17 years is stunned by Vicki's actions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was a long time trusted employee at our jail and just exploited the system and that's why it's so shocking.
YOUNG: And he has a message for her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I would hope she would come home. I think she's in danger. I would say come home.
YOUNG (voice-over): Yeah, Erin, when you think about the details of this story, so many people are baffled. But just take a look at this. This is the patrol car that was taken from that jail, that car in that parking lot for them to get away. So many questions but the U.S. Marshal Service says they've gotten hundreds of tips so far and every time it's on television say they get even more so hoping someone will see them out there, especially with this guy being 6'9", and make that phone call -- Erin.
BURNETT: Very noticeable. That's a fair point. All right. Thank you very much.
So, I want to go now to Lauderdale County sheriff, Rick Singleton. You just saw him in Ryan's piece.
And, Sheriff, I really appreciate your time.
I just want to ask you understanding of where you are. Moments ago, U.S. Marshals released this rendering of how Vicki White might be disguised with darker hair so put that out. I know you, obviously getting a lot of tips but half a dozen-ish appear to be promising.
Where are those tips coming from? Have you heard of new sightings?
SINGLETON: Well, obviously, coming from all corners of the country as the marshal said but, you know, the tip that we're getting, following up on, aggressively as we can, some of them do look promising, you know? But it takes a time to follow through on those things. We're hoping one of them will pan out and be able to locate them.
BURNETT: So, this story is just so incredible, the fact obviously you got a manhunt here that's now seven days in progress but also the fact that you've been pouring through surveillance video from the detention facility. What have you been able to learn from that about their relationship and how long they planned this?
SINGLETON: Well, actually, the video footage from the detention center not provided that much information concerning any relationship. Most of our information there comes from inmates who came forward last Saturday and advise us there was a relationship. The confirmation actually came from other sources outside the detention center.
BURNETT: So, and that inmates were able to confirm that. So, but just in the context of this, this relationship that she's having with him that you've learned about, you've known her for a long time. And I know you admire her and she was set to retire the day she went missing.
I just keep thinking about that and saying gosh, employees were getting ready to throw her a retirement party. People viewed her as a mother figure. I mean, it's unbelievable to think that she may have done this. Why do you think she did it?
SINGLETON: Why she did it? I really don't know. It's not the Vicki White we know, but obviously there was a side to Vicki White that we weren't aware of, and she has coordinated this and taken advantage of her knowledge of the system and played it to her advantage and, you know, made it very difficult.
BURNETT: And so do you have confidence you'll find them, Sheriff?
SINGLETON: I do. Absolutely, I think we'll find them.
BURNETT: All right, well we are watching and of course, hoping you do and soon.
Sheriff Singleton, thank you very much.
SINGLETON: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, Russians keep a badly injured Ukrainian prisoner alive for just one reason -- to get one of their own soldiers back.
BURNETT: Tonight, a Ukrainian soldier's sacrifice, injured in Mariupol before being captured by Russians and held nearly three weeks.
Nick Paton Walsh is OUTFRONT.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): This is how Hlib's war ends. But if you told him he was lucky, he'd probably agree. He fought for Mariupol and the steel factory village since the war began, put tourniquets on friends, felt the heat of Russian tanks blasting his building just meters away. He survived but only just, here, after 17 days as a wounded prisoner in Russia.
HLIB STRYZHKO, INJURED UKRAINIAN MARINE (through translator): Very often when I close my eyes I see that moment when the tank was firing at me and my side getting injured. On the day of my injury, one of my boys, a machine gunner was killed. Every time, it's personal.
Every time, I heard it over the walkie-talkie or in person that someone was dead. It would conjure memories of him.
WALSH: His mind, also in pieces. Left grappling with fragments of the worst fighting in Europe for decades.
STRYZHKO: You know there's a point when the brain accepts it, seeing the phosphorus missiles, seeing aviation flying in. When this became normal, that was scary. We learned how to fall asleep at this accompaniment. Instead, it became scary to fall asleep in the silence.
WALSH: Two moments, though, haunt him here.
STRYZHKO: The first time I used tourniquets on my friend and the second scene is this -- we saw aviation destroying whole hangers, watching a huge hanger have nothing left in just seconds. This has really been engraved on my memory.
WALSH: Wounded on April the 10th, when he regained consciousness, he was not where he thought he was.
STRYZHKO: First time I found out I was held captive was when we were inside ambulance. Me and another guy with similar injuries. He asked, are you ours? And they replied.
It is unclear now who you mean by ours now. They say I was under the guard of ministry of state security of the separatist DPR but it was scarier when I got to the separatist hospital, I was told by a Russian soldier, you'll have to forget Ukrainian now. You'll only get help if you ask in Russian.
WALSH: The Russians kept him alive, he says, so they could exchange him for their own.
STRYZHKO: There were two of us bedridden so we had to be fed by nurses. So they would say, because of you, my son got killed. I tried to be understanding but they were accusing us of things we never did, and we had Russian news read to us all the time, in the morning and evening. That was a lot of pressure on the mind. A distortion of reality.
WALSH: On April the 27th, the exchange happened and he was put on a plane, his pelvis crushed, his lower jaw broken, brain concussed but can still feel his legs.
STRYZHKO: And I also have problems with my eyes because of constant bright flashes and dust. So at first, they were glazed, then they opened. For now, I still can't see with my left and my right only silhouettes, my body was broken but not my spirit. My doctor says I would be able to pick any New Balance sneakers by autumn. That makes me happy.
WALSH: Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Southern Ukraine.
Thanks so much for joining us. And you can always find the latest episode of our show on our podcast. Just go to CNN/audio or your favorite podcast app and search for ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT.
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