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Sixty-Plus People Feared Dead In Russian Strike On Ukrainian School; Perdue Leans In On Election Lie Claims In Georgia GOP Primary; White House: U.S. Could See 100M New Cases This Fall, Winter. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 12:30   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: More than 60 people sheltering in Ukrainian school are now feared dead, killed in a Russian airstrike over the weekend, 90 people were believed to be living inside that school, which was in Ukraine's Luhansk region. Let's get some insights now about the battlefield. Retired Major General CNN military analyst Spider Marks is with us. General Marks grateful for your time, let's just take a look at the school video. Number one, we're talking about right up in here. Let me even come in a little closer. You look up here. This is where the school is right here. And you see the fighting just over the line here. But when you see something like this, it's a school that's serving as a shelter. And you just see the devastation there. We've talked about this before, but the Russians don't care.

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They simply do not care. This is now not surprising, very sadly, isn't it? I mean, this has become a standard operating procedure for what the Russians have taken as a primary means to exercise means of terror trying to break the will to resist of the Ukrainian people and kind of degrade the morale. Clearly they haven't done that yet. But this is what the Russians will continue to do.

KING: And so let's put it on the map. You see the bombing that's up here. Ukrainians have been trying to target some pontoon bridges that the Russians are putting up here. This is where the fight has been. We've talked about this before you do see some modest, very modest Russian advances. What is it about trying to take out the pontoon bridge?

MARKS: Yes, what what's very interesting, this pontoon bridge, we estimate is in this particular area, the pontoon bridge by itself is not surprising. Again, you have to have mobility. You also have to have counter mobility. You've got to be able to move. You got to be able to stop others from moving. So this provides the Russian some mobility. But what the Ukrainians I am certain have done is other crossing sites that exist, the existing crossing sites have probably already been either detonated or put into position pre detonated for on command to destroy him. So the Russians don't have access. But what's very interesting is you've seen it, there's very little advance that's taking place, we're not seeing these great conventional tank battles that we're talking about.

But what the Russians have to be able to do is to control this, they've got to get into the third dimension, they got to have some type of air control, not superiority, not supremacy, they've just got to get up there and protect those crossing sites. What this tells me because it's so close along the border, there hasn't been the advance is the Ukrainians now are affecting, number one, the Russians are concerned if they got into tank battles, they would lose. And number two, they're going to hold back until they can achieve some moderate success, and then begin this advance. The Ukrainians are now setting the tone of the engagement, which is exactly what they need to do by doing deep strikes.

KING: And so you see that fighting up here down in Mariupol still in Mariupol. I just want to show you this is the steel plant, and we're still seeing bombing. This is from over the weekend there. How important is this to the Russians in terms of number one, it's taken them forever and forever and forever. The civilians are out of the steel plant now. But when you come back to the map, and you look here, why is that port, so important to them?

MARKS: This this is important because what the Russians are going to do this is immediately on the tangent of the Donbass region. This is going to turn into a complete wasteland the Russians don't care about rebuilding it. This now becomes a checkmark, it can be a victory, it can be a win. And that begins the movement of additional capability in this direction toward the real prize. If you go back to the big map of this, this bad boy right here.

KING: Right, Odessa.

MARKS: Odessa, which is why we saw a strike over the weekend that caught your fancy, I just want to bring up there in Odessa here. This is a strike here. Odessa has been in and out sort of episodic and whether the Russians are bombing or not, the missile here caught your attention.


KING: Well this is the use of an Oniks missile which is an anti-ship missile, which is a precision guided capability. And they fired for these ostensibly from the Crimea area, kind of randomly into Donbass, why would you do that? This provides a kid of -- it demonstrates to me ill-discipline on the part of the Russians which we've seen lack of precision firing, why would you reach into your kitbag, a precision missiles, and then throw those things indiscriminately like a flying telephone pole in the direction of Odessa, it doesn't make sense.

KING: General Marks as always, thank you sir for your time. Appreciate it.

Up next for us, David Perdue's big bet on the big lie as we head to break though, a surprise performance in Kyiv, U2's Bono and the Edge performing a 40-minute concert in a Kyiv subway station. Bono tweeted Ukrainian President Zelenskyy invited him well they came and played.



KING: Some new CNN reporting this hour, some Senate Republicans are not happy with a former colleague, David Perdue, a former senator, is now running for Georgia Governor with Donald Trump's endorsement. Trump is trying to exact revenge on the Republican governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp. And listen Perdue here all in on Trump's big lie.


DAVID PERDUE (R-GA), GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: In the state of Georgia, thanks to Brian Kemp. Our elections in 2020 were absolutely stolen.

In my election and President's election, they were stolen. The evidence is compelling now.

One of the difference between Governor Kemp and me as he thinks Jon Ossoff and Joe Biden won fair and square.

Let me be very clear tonight. The election in 2020 was rigged and stolen.


KING: Asma Khalid, Manu Raju, Margaret Talev it back with us. Manu, this is your reporting. The evidence is so compelling. It doesn't exist.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's right. The thing that's remarkable to Republican senators who we spoke to more than a dozen of them about what David Perdue has been saying is that they don't really recognize this guy. He was someone who served with them for six years. He's someone who was a business minded conservative, a mainstream Republican, but has since he jumped into this race against Brian Kemp has done everything for filing a lawsuit to try to suggest the election was stolen and multiple debates as said outright.

One of the first things he said was that the election was stolen, has cut ads on this. But in talking to Republicans Senators they say everything from this seems to be a clear political strategy that he's doing here. They're surprised that he would do something like this, that it's completely absurd that he would say something like this. And it speaks John to the larger tension within the Republican Party. Do you embrace Donald Trump to say these kinds of things to simply to get his endorsement? And does that hurt you come the fall when a lot of Republicans say we need to focus on the future, focus on Joe Biden, now we litigate 2020.

KING: Let's read some of this because you have a number of Republican senators quoted, but as you well know, you do this every day. Some Republicans are willing to talk about this, and some would prefer to hide and not talk about this. But Mitt Romney it's absurd detrimental to democracy and the insulting to the American public. Kevin Cramer, this one's interesting. I don't know whether he believes it or not. I really don't. But I'm sure it's a political strategy. John Thune, it doesn't sound like it's working very well, at least right now. And Joni Ernst, she pointed, it makes us look like we're a party that looks the past rather than the future.

But, but if you look at Republican candidates around the country, there are still a lot of Republican candidates, even those without Trump's endorsement, who to some degree, say 2020 was stolen when it just was not?

ASMA KHALID, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NPR: That's true. And I would say, you know, I think the idea of a political strategy is kind of fairly accurate. You do look at a state like Ohio, J.D. Vance was successful in sort of pivoting and becoming an anti-Trump or to a full scale embracer of the former president. You know, we were talking about this just a minute ago in the break, I do think there are reasons that Georgia is different one primarily being that it was re litigated very publicly after the 2020 election, with Republicans involved at the secretary of state level, the governor himself being a Republican.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And it's interesting, because there are three really interesting races in Georgia this year, right? It's not just this governor's race in this primary, but there's also a Senate contest. And there's a Secretary of State's contest, which is really important because the sitting Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, running for secretary of state, again, certainly politically look like a dead man walking in those early weeks at, you know, around the runoff in January 6th, and all that.

But it is now and is facing a primary challenge from Jody Hice. But it's by all accounts, in a potentially poised to emerge as the front runner if not the outright winner in this primary. So you have a potential situation here where both Kemp and Raffensperger could be saying, you know what, it's not true. The election was not stolen and could still emerge victorious.

RAJU: And that would be a huge embarrassment for Trump has made Georgia really central to this campaign to try to suggest that the election was stolen and proposal are showing that Perdue is down by a fair amount, and it looks like he could avoid they can -- Kemp could win outright and avoid a runoff in fact Kelly Loeffler who also last with Perdue in last cycle gave their Democrats the majority was up on Capitol Hill last week. We were told that she talked to a Republican senators and she too believes that Kemp could win outright. So that's where it seems it's going right now. So this strategy at the moment doesn't say will work.


TALEV: Even in that Senate race where Herschel Walker is the leading GOP candidate, Herschel Walker has very much said we should not be focusing on the past and on 2020, it's time to look ahead and just have people turn out for the next set of elections.

KING: That's why the impact in these Georgia races but in other places too, you have Republican candidates with Trump's endorsement, who are pushing the big lie, if some of them get beat, it could make a difference. But then when other Republicans break, because the reason we talked about this is not looking back at 2020, we talked about this because somebody wants to run for president again. And he keeps saying this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The election was rigged and stolen, and now our country is being destroyed because of it. None of these things would have happened.


KING: He's never going to let this go. He is never going to let this go. The question is, do more and more Republicans break from him? And do they get the courage to do so maybe by these election results?

RAJU: Yes, I mean, that's the ultimate question here, come the fall. And perhaps if the Republicans lose, don't take back the Senate? That's going to be a big question about how they dealt with these things in the primary because if you start to move too far to the right, and the primary, you've talked about these things, and it becomes a problem for you in the general election, that could be lesson learned. But we've also seen how Republicans deal with Trump, which has tried to ignore him and tried to talk about something else.

KHALID: And I mean, and they do think there are some states where it has been successful. And this comes down to, I think, sort of where we see some of the early primary states where we actually, I mean there's just geographic diversity and in some places, again, I guess I keep thinking about Ohio. It was a successful strategy to align yourself with the big lie in to align yourself with President Trump.

KING: So we'll learn that again this month will be very telling on the strength of Trump and I guess the strength of the big lie with Republican voters.

Ahead for us, a grim warning from the White House brace for another tough COVID winter.



KING: Just in to us, President Biden now plans to address the global COVID-19 summit on Thursday. That comes as the Biden White House says it needs billions in new COVID funding and it needs that money fast.


DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: If we don't get ahead of this thing, we're going to have a lot of waning immunity. This virus continues to evolve. And we may see a pretty sizable wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths this fall in winter.


KING: Teen CNN's senior health correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is with us. Elizabeth, I just want to tee up what Dr. Jha was talking about. And if you look at it just from the line point, if you look back to January, we're above 800,000 cases a day while we're way down here. But 35,000 cases a month ago, we are now above 70,000 cases a day for the first time since back in February. That's one way to look at it starting to trickle back up again. Or Elizabeth, you can look at it this way, state by state 36 states reporting more COVID this week than last week, now many of these states from a very low baseline, but 36 states heading in the wrong direction.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. When we say heading in the wrong direction. We're not just talking about cases, John, we're also talking about hospitalizations, and deaths. So let's take a look at this White House forecast for what could happen this fall and winter. They say that there could be 100 million potential infections. Now they say that calculation that they've made assumes no extra mitigation measures. In other words, that sort of if we don't do anything more than what we're doing now. So in a way, that's good news. In other words, there is room for improvement. We've already seen as you sort of mentioned in a different way, hospitalizations up 12 percent in the past week.

So this isn't just about people getting mildly ill and missing work for a day or two. This is about hospitalizations. I want to look at this a different way, John, with a map. This map shows the increase in hospitalizations in the first week of April from April 1st to April 9. I want you to focus on those red states, there's only six of them. In other words, only six states saw an increase in hospitalization of hospitalizations over the course of the first week of April. Most of those states are in green, which is good. It means the hospitalizations were going down. Fast forward to now the first week of May. You've got 24 states in the red 24 states are hospitalizations are going up from May 1st to May 9.

You only have three states in green, three states where they're going down. So as you said, heading in the wrong direction, we're headed to the red, which is hospitalizations going up rather than heading into the green which is hospitalizations going down, John?

KING: That's why the White House says it needs that money to help with the fight. Elizabeth Cohen grateful for the important insights. We'll watch this one as it plays out.


And up ahead for us, more stunning revelations from Donald Trump's former Defense Secretary in a brand new book.


KING: Topping our Political Radar, new details from CNN reporting on the Oathkeepers leaders of that far right extremist group are now helping the Justice Department. Multiple sources familiar with the federal investigation into January 6th tell CNN the Oathkeepers are turning over phones and digital files and sitting for interviews with the FBI.

A new excerpt from the former Defense Secretary Mark Esper his book obtained by POLITICO tells us more about Donald Trump's you might say unconventional approach to international dilemmas and diplomacy. Esper writes that back in August 2019, a meeting at Trump's New Jersey Golf Club, the then president declared quote, I want to meet the Taliban. The proposed meeting, though between President Trump and the Taliban ultimately scrapped that after a car bomb in Kabul killed 12 people including an American servicemen.

Next hour, President Biden will announce a partnership between the White House and internet providers to lower costs for low income households. Those providers include AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, as well as several smaller internet providers. The White House says the partnership should help lower the cost of high speed internet for about 48 million households.


Don't forget you can also listen to our podcast download Inside Politics wherever you get your podcast, thanks for your time today on inside politics hope to see you back here tomorrow. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.