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Erin Burnett Outfront

Trump Team Expected To Zero In On Cohen's Credibility Tomorrow; Trump, RFK Jr. In Escalating War Of Words: "Lunatics," Scammed"; Death Toll Hits 23, Including 4 Kids, Due To Tornadoes And Storms. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired May 27, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Breaking news, Cohen in the crosshairs. CNN learning tonight Trump's legal team is right now preparing to attack Michael Cohen when they present their closing arguments tomorrow. So, what more can we expect?

Plus, Trump now locked in a vicious and personal battle with RFK Jr., as we hear from two Nikki Haley supporters about who they plan to vote for come November.

And another terrifying flight with severe turbulence. This as we're hearing directly from the passenger who's on board that deadly flight under similar circumstances just last week. Tonight, he joins us from the hospital where his wife is also still there after suffering a severe spinal injury.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. Welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT. I'm Erica Hill, in for Erin Burnett.

Tonight, breaking news, trashing Cohen's character. Our Kara Scannell reporting tonight that Trump's legal team is expected to go after the credibility of Trump's former fixer, Michael Cohen, during their closing arguments tomorrow. Cohen, of course, is the prosecution's star witness here. Their case really hinges on his testimony, which lasted days.

This as prosecutors will be trying to piece together five weeks of testimony in order to convince since the jury that Donald Trump is guilty of falsifying business records in order to conceal $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.

The major question for both sides, will this jury of seven men and five women who have now been off out of court for an entire week, will they be swayed one way or the other based on what they here tomorrow? Donald Trump isn't taking any chances already laying the groundwork to claim the case was rigged from the start, should he be convicted, today alone firing off a number of posts targeting Judge Juan Merchan, calling him radical, conflicted, suggesting they were shot actually fixed the entire jury process in order to ensure a guilty verdict, an allegation Trump's attorney is repeating.


ALINA HABBA, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: I have zero confidence in the fact that this person who should not be sitting on the bench right now will do the right thing and give jury instructions that are in an appropriate manner without any persuasion towards the prosecution.


HILL: So if this is a strategy that sounds familiar to you, it should. In fact, it's the exact same playbook Trump use leading up to the 2020 election.

Kara Scannell is OUTFRONT live in New York tonight.

Kara, you've learned a lot more about what we will hear from both sides tomorrow. Let's start with Donald Trump's lawyers, with the defense. There's -- so Michael Cohen in there. What more do we know about their game plan?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Erica. I mean, Michael Cohen is going to be the center of closing arguments because he is the only witness that directly ties Donald Trump to the repayment scheme and those falsified documents, according to the prosecution.

Now, Trump's lawyers are expected to focus on Cohen's say that the jury shouldn't trust him you shouldn't believe what he said. They're also going to highlight some of the witnesses that the jury did not hear from in this case, witnesses the prosecution didn't call, including Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump organization, who was in a key meeting with Michael Cohen and Donald Trump when Cohen said Trump approved this repayment scheme.

Also that they didn't hear from Dylan Howard, a top editor at the "National Enquirer", who was involved in all of the catch and kill deals discussed during the trial, and that they didn't hear from Keith Schiller, Trump's onetime bodyguard who traveled with Trump during the campaign, all in an effort to try to reasonable doubt with the story in arguing that they should not convict Donald Trump.

HILL: So that's what we expect to hear from the defense. What about the prosecution? What's the strategy there?

SCANNELL: Yeah, the prosecutors are going to say that the jury doesn't have to like Michael Cohen, but that they can believe him and they'll point towards some of the other evidence that they brought out during the past six weeks of testimony, including text messages, phone log records, some of these other documents in the case, including the alleged 34 falsified documents, the false invoice, the voucher, and the checks that were signed mostly by Donald Trump's.

So trying to tell the jury that they don't have to necessarily want to like everything that Michael Cohen said, but there's other evidence that they've heard to corroborate his testimony and ask when they asked the jury to return a verdict object of guilty. Now, closings are expected to go all day tomorrow.

The judge said that he will then address the jury on Wednesday about what the law is, what the prosecution needs to prove in order to win a conviction. And once the judge finishes delivering those instructions, the jurors will retreat until the seven men and five women can reach a unanimous verdict.


HILL: And then the clock starts ticking, and everybody will be playing a game of how long will this take? Kara, really appreciate it. I know you'll be there in court for us tomorrow.

Ryan Goodman, Terri Austin, and Norm Eisen, all with me here now to preview what they think both sides actually need to do tomorrow.

So, Ryan, perhaps not surprising that Michael Cohen is going to figure prominently for the defense tomorrow. Is that enough to get at least one juror to their side?

RYAN GOODMAN, JUST SECURITY CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: I think so. I think the defense is going to make the obvious arguments that the case hinges on Michael Cohen's testimony. And without it, the prosecution doesn't have a case. And then they just need a level Michael Cohen's credibility before the jurors, then just try to get that one.

And they can say, look, everything depends on Michael Cohen without him, you do not know that Donald Trump is even aware of the hush money payment at the time. You do not know the Donald Trump has any awareness of the structure of the deal that is Michael Cohen. And without him, there's nothing. And I think that's their argument and then they we just tear into all the lies that he's responsible for and the lack of credibility in their side.

HILL: Terri, you said that you think in many ways the best lane for the defense here is this tried and true. Hey, nothing to see here defense, right? There is nothing for you to look at here, but there is evidence that was presented in court that Trump at least knew of the payments. The question, of course, is can that paper trail do all that work?

TERRI AUSTIN, FORMER TRIAL ATTORNEY: Exactly. I think one of the things they're going to do is not only attack the credibility of Michael Cohen, but say, look, even if you believe everything the prosecution said, okay, we had an NDA, nothing illegal about that. All right, so we made payments. Nothing wrong with making payments. This is done all the time.

What AMI did is something that is normal, even if Cohen made the payment to Stormy Daniels. That's nothing wrong because it was for the reason of protecting the family. That's it. You have no evidence that it was for the reason of influencing an election or tax fraud or any kind of federal campaign finance fraud.

So, I think that's what they have to do, whether or not they're going to actually do it is something else. I think the prosecution has a much better case. I think their documents and their witnesses all corroborated what they're claim is. But I do think the defense can just say, hey, nothing wrong here.

HILL: So hold that thought in the prosecution. We're going to come back to prosecution in a minute.

Norm, I did want to get your take on the fact that you just heard Kara is reporting suggests Michael Cohen, who will figure in the defense is closing arguments, Allen Weisselberg, as well, former Trump Org CFO. He's in jail at the moment, right, serving time for perjury related to a separate case, civil case involving Donald Trump, bringing Allen Weisselberg more prominently into the conversation, essentially introducing this character in closing arguments.

Could that backfire or is that a smart move?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it bespeaks some of the thinness of what the defense has to work with that they're dragging in these absent witnesses. I mean, imagined the jury reaction. We've been here for 20 trial days and these people are saying we should have stayed for longer. We heard from Allen Weisselberg in the form of others testifying about him and his notes, the probably the smoking gun of smoking guns in. This case, laying out the so-called grossed up scheme.

So the problem for the defense, his they have not really put forward an alternative theory. Their one witness, Robert Costello, on the defense case was a disaster. There's nobody in that courtroom who thinks that this payment was made and then doubled to $130,000, doubled or that this false alleged paper trail was created without Donald Trump's permission.

Now, there may be one or two jurors, again, it speaks that toughness of the defense's job. They're not really he trying for an acquittal. Nobody is saying, oh, Donald Trump's got a great shot at an acquittal here. What they're trying for is a hung jury and a mistrial, one or two jurors. So pointing to Weisselberg and the other missing witnesses speaks to the toughness of the defense lay down. I'd rather be the prosecution. It's theirs to lose.

HILL: So if you are the prosecution, Ryan, if Allen Weisselberg does in fact come up tomorrow, how do you rebut that? How much attention do you give that?

GOODMAN: I think Norm's right that we do in fact, have Allen Weisselberg like, what would we have had him come and do tell us that these are his notes. It's uncontested that these are his nose and his notes put down in writing the exact scheme. And where does he write the notes? But on the bank statement that it has the wire transfers.

It's like do we really need Allen Weisselberg for that? And if anything, the difference could have called Allen Weisselberg if he was going to say something different. And they don't need Allen Weisselberg to get beyond a reasonable doubt is the way to put it. It's the defense that needs Allen Weisselberg. I think that's the way to put it. HILL: So, what do you think? What testimony should the prosecution really be focusing on tomorrow, as they work to connect all of these dots that they put forth over the last five weeks?


AUSTIN: I think they start at the beginning and I think that's the reason they had Pecker be the first witness. He laid it all out. He talked about when they all first met and conceived of this conspiracy to rig the election, so to speak.

And I think they go hello from there, Gary Farrow, the banker. I think Keith Davidson, they all supported these payments to the doorman, to McDougal, to Daniels, and then I think they focus on the witnesses that really worked Trump witnesses, but helped like Hope Hicks who said this was really for helping out as far as the election was concerned.

HILL: Norm, real quickly, the fact that the jury it has been out of court for a week. They got a full break for a week.

Does that benefit either side?

EISEN: The burden is on the prosecution. So perhaps it's a slight disadvantage, but on the other hand, we had that disastrous Robert Costello with his cookbook for witness tampering, his emails with a bad overhang for the defense. So I think it's a wash.

HILL: All right. We'll all be watching and well have much to discuss on the heels of it. Thank you all.

OUTFRONT next, a lunatic and a scammer. Those are just two of the insults flying tonight between Trump and RFK Jr. But are those attacks doing anything to win over new voters?

Plus, a breaking a deadly line of storms is now racing across the U.S. Tornado watches in effect for millions as we're learning 23 people have now been killed by these powerful storms.

Plus, horrific images emerging tonight out of Ukraine following a devastating strike on Ukraine's second-largest city, we are on the ground tonight.



HILL: Tonight, Trump and RFK Jr. in a war of words. Trump taking to social media as polls showed, Kennedy peeling off more of Trump's supporters, than Biden's writing, quote, don't waste any Republican or conservative votes on Junior. He's one of the most liberal lunatics ever to run for office.

Kennedy then firing back in a lengthy post of his own, writing in part, quote: President Trump scammed American workers. If you think a second Trump term would be any different, you're engaging in wishful thinking.

Harry Enten is OUTFRONT to go beyond the numbers and I hear from that little voice over here that you're ready.


HILL: So the fact, Harry, that RFK is actually going after, right? Going hard right now after working class voters specifically what do you see in that move?

ENTEN: Yeah. What you see essentially as look at those voters who have a household income under $50,000, that is where RFK Jr. does best. What we have here as a legitimate three-way race, right? You would think this is a group that Donald Trump, my dominates among, right? We know he always goes after the working class.

But RFK's at 23 percent. Donald Trump has just at 34 percent in that particular thing. And in fact, if you look at RFK Jr. support across income groups, you basically see a steady decline from those who make less than $50,000 a year, and then you go $50,000, $100,000 and then over $100,000, that group has -- he has out one-half this sport that he does amongst those under $50,000.

HILL: It's fastening. There's also -- ever since Nikki Haley pulled out of the race, there's been all this talk about what happens to Nikki Haley voters.

ENTEN: Yeah.

HILL: She came out last week and said she was going to support Donald Trump in this election. There are still a number of her voters who are undecided. We're going to talk to them in just a moment.

You've been digging into that. Why are you finding that many of those folks who supported Nikki Haley are having such a tough time deciding between Donald Trump and Joe Biden at this point?

ENTEN: Because those supporters, Haley supporters hate Donald Trump and hate Joe Biden. I mean, look at these unfavorable ratings that Nikki Haley supporters have for Donald Trump and Joe Biden. What you see is that Nikki Haley supporters look at this an 80 percent unfavorable view of Joe Biden, Donald Trump, not much better, well- liked look at that, a 75 percent unfavorable rating.

That is what makes it so difficult for him, because simply put, they hate both of the major party candidates.

HILL: So given that, right, and given those numbers that are there are almost the same at that point, right? We're looking at them.

Is there any indication that there's starting to lean a certain way or that something could push them to a certain camp?

ENTEN: Yeah. You know, if you look right now, what do you see? You see an a three-way match up, basically a three-way race. This is what's so interesting. Look at RFK Jr., how much support he's pulling, getting 31 percent of

this group, Donald Trump, right behind at 30 percent, Joe Biden at 17 percent of the vote.

The fact of the matter is this is going to be a group that's going to be up for grabs for the rest of the election cycle because were talking about 20 percent of the Republican base. And well see just where they go.

HILL: Well, we're going to ask two of them right now, Harry, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

HILL: And OUTFRONT, two Nikki Haley supporters who are undecided voters tonight. Amanda Stewart Sprowls is a Republican from Arizona. Chris Rauen is a Republican from California.

It's great to have both of you with us.

I'm actually going to start. I'm just going to bring this up later, but I was fascinated. You were both profiled in a piece when my colleague Kate Meyer about a Zoom call the Biden campaign held with Haley voters.

As we dig into that, when Nikki Haley announced that she would be voting for Donald Trump, she wants it's again, urge Donald Trump to reach out to her supporters. In fact, she said, quote, you can't assume they're just going to be with him.

It's my understanding though that neither of you have yet heard from the Trump campaign.

Amanda, you actually voted though for Donald Trump twice. What would he need to do at this point when your vote a third time?

AMANDA STEWART SPROWLS, UNDECIDED VOTER AFTER HALEY DROPPED OUT: At this point, I don't think it's not a time to talk anymore. We would actually need to see real policy executives, professionals put into place. You know, we were done with the performance politics that we've seen especially recently in Congress. We want to see actual specific policies and actual professionals put into place that demonstrate Republican ideals, business light waves of dealing with the real-world issues in the country right now.


HILL: So you want some guarantees of what that second Trump administration would look like and who would be leading the charge in a number of those important key questions? Yeah?

SPROWLS: Exactly, exactly.

It's -- you know, no more words, no more talking, Trump vacillates over and over again on different policies and we actually want to see, are you going to hire real professionals who understand whether its foreign policy, whether its economic policy, whether it's tax policy, did they understand what they're doing or are they is it an all football coach? Is that, you know, somebody who's just a TV pundit? Is that --

HILL: Right.

SPROWLS: -- is that who he's going to be hiring?

HILL: So, Chris, Donald Trump did have your support in 2020. Not in 2016, but in 2020, but you say this -- at this point, there's zero chance of that happening in 2024. You're actually leaning towards Joe Biden, but you're not fully sold.

What more would you need to hear from him?

CHRIS RAUEN, HALEY SUPPORTER LEADING TOWARD BIDEN: From Joe Biden obviously, there are some issues that concern me, for example, the border is one that when I speak to others as well, who were former Nikki supporters, Nikki Haley supporters would like to see more action taken, they're now Congress, unfortunately twice now, squandered the border bill, which actually Nikki Haley supported, even though it wasn't a perfect bill, just really strong commitment toward Israel, no vacillation on that just at the United States backs Israel, period.

A few other foreign policy issues on that and just, you know, less wasteful spending. We've got to get the debt under control.

HILL: Amanda, you -- as I mentioned, you were on that zoom call with the Biden campaign. You mentioned immigration. Chris, you actually brought that up. You brought up the border as a major issue for them. You were pretty clear as I understand it, in letting the Biden campaign know how you feel.

Do you feel that you were heard, that they understood where you were coming from?

SPROWLS: I definitely think so especially speaking as an Arizona voter in the construction and real estate industries and the border is a serious issue. Our -- in Arizona, our skilled labor force is worried that these illegals or asylum seekers will hurt their job market. They're concerned about safety, they're concerned about safety on the on the job sites, fentanyl has gotten its way into the job sites. It's a scary situation at the border right now.

HILL: Yeah.

SPROWLS: And even though we're in Phoenix and we're a couple of hours away, it's scary.

HILL: Chris, the fact that both you and Amanda, you're part of a very large group of Haley supporters were looking for home, as we mentioned in this election, I was struck by some of the numbers that my colleague Harry Enten brought up just before we came to this interview, that 31 percent of Haley voters would support RFK Jr., 30 percent would support Donald Trump.

Neither one of you, as I understand it, are even considering RFK Jr.

Chris, why is that out of the question for you?

RAUEN: I've heard a few of his policies and positions and it just does -- it seem like they're out there to me, and it's quite reach for me to even go there half of them sounds like he changed his mind and dated a day-to-day basis based on where the wind is blowing so that's a no for me.

And besides that, it seems that the entire Kennedy family has endorsed Joe Biden for president reelection again. So I -- but that's a no for me.

HILL: Chris, Amanda, really great to have you with us tonight and really appreciate the perspective. Thank you.

RAUEN: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

HILL: Just ahead here, we're following the breaking news, a tornado watch now in effect, 40 millions across the country as a deadly line of storms are targeting now, the East Coast. Plus, reports of another airline hit with severe turbulence following that terrifying instance that left one person dead and dozens more injured. I'm going to speak with the husband of a woman who suffered a severe spine injury.



HILL: The breaking news, dangerous, severe weather moving across the Northeast now, a tornado watch in effect for the Washington, D.C. area and parts of Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. That same storm system is responsible for at least 23 deaths across four states, a number that is continuing to climb.

The video from Kentucky, which you're seeing here, captures a catastrophic EF4 tornado roaring through the western part of the state.

In Texas, meantime, a woman and two of her children were killed when a tornado struck their trailer, throwing it across the street.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT tonight in Valley View, Texas, where that tornado struck at that devastation behind you, is really something.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Erica, you know, one of the things as we've spent the last couple of days out here in this area of North Texas. That was just devastated by this EF2 tornado Saturday night with winds of 135 miles per hour. It's just the close brushes with death that so many people had.

We spoke with the gentleman by the name of Michael Gonzalez. He and his wife were inside the home you see behind me. They were trying to gather their cats and dogs and make it into a storage shelter that they had to get away from the store, but they didn't make it. They were on the backside of this and everything collapsed around them.

It was a terrifying experience, but somehow, they were able to walk away especially when you consider that just feet away from them, is that -- were that -- were -- mother and her two children were found dead.


But Michael Gonzalez says that they were lucky to get out alive.


LAVANDERA: Could you feel the house tearing apart?

MICHAEL GONZALEZ, STORM SURVIVOR: Oh, yeah. I felt that -- I felt when the scratch one neuron up and everything was coming off I go, oh, no. I can feel that and start a hard all their windows breaking from the south side, and then I'm trying to hear a bunch of stuff pounding against the walls and heavy stuff, you know? We had to pick and choose our battles, getting out of the rubble because everything was blown everywhere and the whole nine yards, and so, not --

LAVANDERA: How are you and your wife feeling now?

GONZALEZ: Well, we're still a little bit -- little bit tender. We're a little beat up still with it. So and it was -- it was the daisy, that's for sure.


LAVANDERA: So, Erica, residents here has spent the last two days cleaning up and what you see behind me, its like, you know, you look at that, you've asked yourself, where do you start? And this is what many people here have resorted to is scrambling and saving what they can. But essentially just turning everything into burn piles and setting fire to what they have we've been able to salvage.

That's the kind of intensity that this cleanup process has here for these residents -- Erica.

HILL: Yeah, absolutely. Ed, appreciate it. Thank you.

Also tonight, another terrifying episode of violent turbulence, this time on a flight from Doha to Dublin, 12 people were heard on that Qatar Airlines for -- Airways flight, eight had to be hospitalized. Here's some of the passengers described that moment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Unfortunately, it was a couple of passengers that didn't have seat seatbelts on. So they were thrown in front of his cell phone out of their seats and hit their head.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had our seat belts on just from watching the episode that happened last week was just -- it was there in your mind.


HILL: That episode that happened last week, of course, with a severe turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight that left more than 100 people injured, 43 of them still in the hospital tonight, 28 people suffered spinal, brain and skull injuries when they were thrown -- thrown from their seats.

Keith Davis and his wife, Kerry, were on that Singapore Airlines flight. She suffered a severe spine injury.

And Keith Davis is OUTFRONT now.

Keith, we see you there. You're still bandaged, still in your hospital bed there in Bangkok.

How are you doing tonight?

KEITH DAVIS, PASSENGER AND HIS WIFE INJURED ON SINGAPORE AIRLINES FLIGHT: Erica, to be honest, I am doing 100 percent when I compare myself to this situation is so many others. And unfortunately, my wife, it's just been a really, really tragic and to what was an absolutely amazing holiday is just incredible that this has happened to some two so many on that flight. And, yeah, it's been pretty terrible.

HILL: Yeah. I would imagine in some ways, likely still feels surreal. Your wife, Kerry, was onboard obviously with you. You too were on your way home from vacation. She was thrown in the midst of all of this, suffered a severe spinal injury, as I noted.

She wasn't able to feel anything after that from the waist down. I know she had to have emergency surgery when you got to Thailand. How is Kerry tonight?

DAVIS: Look, we're taking it day by day, which is really focused on getting Kerry to a position that she can actually fly home. We're working out now all the logistics for a air ambulance to fly her directly from here back to Australia.

There was some other options on how we could do the logistics. My greatest concern was I didn't want her to go on any commercial flight to be back in the rear-end, you know, of a long haul 747 that was just the worst scenarios.

So, we've been able to make arrangements where a dedicated ICU, air ambulance, fully equipped with a medical team on board, are able to make that transfer for her. So that should be happening soon.

HILL: Soon. Is the soon mean a matter of days or a matter of weeks?

DAVIS: I'm hopeful that there'll be no more than a week at this -- at this point, hopefully, even -- even sooner. Yeah. In a weird way, we're blessed that we were diverted to the hospital here in Bangkok but you can understand that as amazing as all that can be, there's nothing like being home, being surrounded by family and friends.


That's when we begin the real work in terms of Kerry's recovery.

HILL: Yeah.

DAVIS: You know, the surgery as, you know, has been successful. But really that is just to stabilize to get a better placed and set up to make that recovery.

Some of -- some of the other stories are extraordinary I saw on the BBC, a story about a young man who was applying CPR to the unfortunate person who passed away. That young man was sitting next to me who was the guy applying CPR. It was just remarkable that you could have three people sitting in a row and have three absolutely crazy outcomes.

Fortunately for my wife, her outcome is that she has no sensation from her waist down. My outcome is on beat, battered and bruised, few lacerations. I'm talking to you, sitting here. I can get around the place.

This young man who was sitting next to me, I didn't see. We will all three instantly launched into the ceiling. I've seen found out that he landed two or three rows behind in the lap of another passenger.

When I looked his seat, was destroyed. His seat was destroyed. I was so confused I landed back in my seat.

Unfortunately, for Kerry she landed straight into the aisle. When she hit the ground, she didn't move. When you land at that sort of force, you're going to move, and you react. She'd never moved again. It was -- it was absolutely terrifying.

I can remember. I came over -- I leaned over and just the silly things that are in your mind. I checked, she was breathing. She could speak to me very weakly. I could hear her voice and I realized I was dripping blood onto her dress, and my minds going oh, no, I'm dripping blood into her dress. You think, I hope this isn't going to stain, just silly things.

When we were launched, it was as though were in this sort of suspended animation. It was kind of like, you know, how people piping box to go out and fly out of the, you know, almost out of all but where you get that sense of sliding around gravity free. Time was suspended. We were just floating.

I remember observing my wife and then, all of a sudden, reality can smashing -- smashing down.

HILL: Yeah.

DAVIS: Yeah, the first thing I saw was Toby -- as (INAUDIBLE) out because I was talking to him. Toby, I couldn't remember his name. I saw reported. I couldn't understand what he was feeling down the aisles, applying CPR. I thought, I know that guy it was just sorry confusing. It just shows you how some people in that situations, he lands two or

three rows behind. He's a -- he's people calling out for medical assistance and there he is like Superman. He ran down and he's applying CPR --

HILL: It is --

DAVIS: Yeah.

HILL: It is always --

DAVIS: Crazy.

HILL: -- remarkable in some of these moments, right? How people just launch into action, where they're needed.

DAVIS: Yeah.

HILL: Keith, I really appreciate you taking the time tonight. I know as you mentioned, there's a long road ahead for Kerry. I hope you'll keep us posted on her progress and I hope that you too are on your way home in a matter of days --

DAVIS: Yeah.

HILL: -- so that she can start with that. I know your daughter is with you now. I'm glad she's there with you. Thanks again for taking the time.

DAVIS: Thank you.

HILL: Well, OUTFRONT next, graphic images just coming in of a deadly strike in Ukraine's second-largest city, as we're learning, Russia could be on the verge of launching another massive offensive.

Plus, devastating setback tonight for Kim Jong-un and his mission to send new spy satellites into orbit.



HILL: Tonight, the deaths are rising from a Russian strike out a large hardware store in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second biggest city.

At least 18 people have died. Among them, a 12-year-old girl. Nick Paton Walsh, is OUTFRONT and I do want to warn our viewers what you're about to see may disturb you.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fragments of loss and losing so often go unheard. But fast, unravel lives all the same.

Two missiles hit this comfortable family home just outside Pokrovsk. Now, only dust and the smell of a decaying family dog.

We're close enough to the Russians. We can pick up their radio station.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The West will not give modern equipment to Kyiv. So, the ordinary Ukrainian soldiers will be the ones to suck it up.

WALSH: Every time you see destruction like this, it's really hard to work out exactly what Russia must have thought it was hitting with firepower like this. People in the street say there's no military around at all. But all the same, after devastation --

People here know two parents died. But the survivor knows a greater horror.


Mykola is 10 and watched his mother Larissa (ph) died as she laid crushed by the rubble.

MYKOLA GLUSHKO, SURVIVOR OF RUSSIAN ATTACK: I heard a whistle through my dream. Then -- bang! All the windows were shattered in a second. My eyes were still closed. I felt the windows shattering and I heard it. Then, something fell. My mom was saying "Kolya! Kolya!" I shouted, "Mom, I'm alive".

I took everything off my face and then I saw, I saw my mom was crushed down by the ceiling. I tried to pull it away but I couldn't. Mom was moaning and shaking her legs.

I was shouting, "Mother, mother, it's just a dream, just a horrible dream. I was screaming, "God, why did you do this to me?!" I was running in my underwear, asking for help.

WALSH: He says he hates himself for not saving his mother.

GLUSHKO: I will visit them, take care of their graves. Apologize for not being able to save them. I'll apologize to my father, that I couldn't save my mom, his wife.

My biggest dream is to ask my parents at least one question, what should I do now? How do I live? My other dream is to take revenge on who fired the missile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enter. Easy, easy. We are in.

WALSH: When you hear the words too injured in Ukraine, the agony of survival is rarely heard, too. A blast hit four feet from these two soldiers dug out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So what was it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shelling or drone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Legs -- here. Good job.

WALSH: It will take weeks to learn if they'll see again. Now, the stabilization point has just keep them alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I open the eye like this, do you see the light?








WALSH: These two from a town that Russia's claimed to be seeing progress in, in the past days, possibly because forces of wounded drawn from there by Ukraine and Russia, north towards Kharkiv to stop the new Russian offensive there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oleh Mykolayovich, look at the hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something burns on my side!


WALSH: Suddenly, he feels pain in his right.

Internal injuries from the sheer force of the blast. They must quickly intervene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it a shot or what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a little shot. A painkiller.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be unpleasant now. That's all , it's done honey.

WALSH: The doctor says last year, during Bakhmut was much busier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 250 people a day.

WALSH: The beds here empty now, not because the war is getting better, quite the opposite. This unit, the 93rd Mechanized Brigade, say is because they're running low on infantry.

And that's how they live in complete darkness with their headlights off so worried are they about the Russian spotting this place.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Eastern Ukraine. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: Also tonight, a mid-air collision. A North Korean spy satellite bursting into flames shortly after takeoff. Kim Jong Un hoping to launch three spy satellites this year, illustrating how important these satellites are to the North Korean dictator.

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North Korea, putting the world on edge, attempting to launch a suspected military spy satellite for the second time in six months, North Korean state media says the rocket exploded during the first stage of launch.

Sounding emergency sirens on Okinawa, Japan, that alert later lifted.

Footage from Japanese broadcaster NHK appears to show a shining orange dot flying in the sky and bursting into flames.

Japan's coast guard got advanced warning from Pyongyang of an eight- day launch window ending in June 4th. Rocket debris potentially falling in three locations , near the Korean peninsula and the Philippines island of Luzon.

YOON SUK YEOL, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translated): The so- called satellite launch that North Korea announced today is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions and the international community should respond firmly.


RIPLEY: South Korean and U.S. intelligence closely monitoring North Korea's satellite launch site. Kim Jong Un was there in November when North Korea successfully launched its first spy satellite after two failed attempts last year.

Experts warn spy satellites give Pyongyang valuable intelligence on South Korean and U.S. military assets in the region, potentially making missile strikes more accurate.

The latest launch announcement as Japan, South Korea, and China hold their first summit in nearly five years, a meeting overshadowed by North Koreas latest moves. Pyongyang says Kim is preparing to host Russian President Vladimir Putin soon, a sign of deepening diplomatic and military ties.

What analysts call Kim's strategic pivot away from U.S. diplomacy five years since summit talks with former President Donald Trump fell apart.

JO BEE-YUN, ASSOCIATE RESEARCH FELLOW, KOREA INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES: North Korea is interested more in engaging the so-called Moscow friendly network of countries, for instance, Iran. RIPLEY: Like Iran, Pyongyang is selling weapons to Putin. Ukraine says North Korean missiles have killed and injured dozens this year, giving North Korea valuable real-world data on the accuracy of its missiles, made with recently produced U.S. and European parts, a U.K. think tank says.

At their meeting in Russia last year, Kim said, I will always be standing with Russia. Putin promised to help Kim's satellite program.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The leader of North Korea shows great interest in space and rocketry. We'll show them our new objects.

RIPLEY: An alliance the U.S. warns, could see Russia providing critical ballistic missile technology to North Korea, further destabilizing the region and the world.


RIPLEY (on camera): These military spy satellites are part of Kim Jong Un's military modernization program. They are a priority for him and we know that the North Koreans, Erica, learned a lot from these failures. Sometimes more than they learn from successful launches. So they're saying that a newly developed liquid rocket motor might be the cause of this liquid fuel, of course, highly volatile, but also very effective because they can roll these ballistic missiles out and launch them with almost no notice. And they're making progress as we can see.

HILL: Wow, it's really something. Will, appreciate it. Thank you.

OUTFRONT next, an urgent manhunt underway after a popular daytime TV star is shot dead.



HILL: Tonight, a manhunt underway for three suspects following the shocking murder of a former "General Hospital' star. Actor Johnny Wactor was shot and killed in downtown Los Angeles.

Camila Bernal is OUTFRONT.


JOHNNY WACTOR, ACTOR: So she was pretty worried about you, which ended up in the hospital.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The "General Hospital" and soap opera community heartbroken and shocked after the fatal shooting of actor Johnny Wactor.

WACTOR: Is it true?

BERNAL: Authorities are still searching for the person that killed the 37-year-old who was best known for his role as Brando Corbin.

Early Saturday morning, he was working at a rooftop bar in downtown Los Angeles. His mothers speaking to CNN affiliate KABC says that after leaving work around 3:00 in the morning, he thought someone was working on his car or towing it. The Los Angeles Police Department says three people were trying to steal the car's catalytic converter when they were interrupted. As Wactor approached the car to talk one of the suspects looked up and shot him according to his mom.

His former fiance, also speaking out.

TESSA FARRELL, FORMERLY ENGAGED TO WACTOR: He was seeing them do it in the act and was standing up for what he believed was right and protecting his vehicle in his car and he was being brave, and you never anticipate someone would kill someone for that.

BERNAL: Wactor was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The entire "General Hospital" family is heartbroken to hear of Johnny Wactor's untimely passing. The show said in a statement, he was truly one of a kind and a pleasure to work with each and every day. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones during this difficult time. Wactor was on "General Hospital" from 2020 to 2022 appearing in more than 150 episodes.

His own screen wife saying: Johnny was the absolute best, so genuine, so carrying incredibly hard working and humble with a huge heart, that spread so much kindness and joy.

The answer also appeared on "Criminal Minds", "Siberia" and "NCIS".

FARRELL: I will actually always think of him as this spirit that love to celebrate life and be alive and push the limits of experience. And he was an amazing actor. He's really funny.


BERNAL (on camera): And after the shooting, those three suspects got in a car and escape. The Los Angeles Police Department has yet to release a description of the suspects or of the vehicle, but they do say they're searching for the people responsible.

Now, in terms of catalytic converter thief, they're up by 900 percent since 2019. This has skyrocketed and it's mainly because of its special -- the metals, the precious metals. And in this case, it was not just theft, but also murder -- Erica.

BERNAL: Camila, appreciate it. Thank you.

Finally tonight, a grateful nation paying tribute on this Memorial Day to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. President Biden visiting Arlington National Cemetery where he honored the nations fallen heroes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll never, ever, ever stop working to make a more perfect union, which they live and which they died for. That was their promise, that's our promise -- our promise today to them.


HILL: The president also spoke of his own personal loss, the death of his son, Beau, an Iraq war veteran saying, I know, it hurts.

Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

Stay with us. The CNN documentary, "CALL ME COUNTRY: BEYONCE AND NASHVILLE'S RENAISSANCE" starts now.