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David Cameron is Interviewed about Putin and G-20; Roberts Can't do Anything about Thomas; Russia Drops Bombs Despite Claims of a Scale Back; Americans Facing Higher Housing Costs. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired March 30, 2022 - 06:30   ET



DAVID CAMERON, FORMER U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Sit next to someone who is effectively a war criminal, who is indiscriminately bombing and shelling civilians in their homes or schools and hospitals. It should be unthinkable. And it's always important with these things to act early, to build your alliance. I'm sure the Canadians, the Japanese, the Koreans would agree with the European members of the G-20 and the United States that it's unthinkable that this man should be able to attend or that Russia should be able to be part of this G-20 while he is prosecuting this illegal and unjustified war against Ukraine.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You just called him a war criminal. I've heard you call him that before. And you would like to see him brought before the war crimes tribunal? Do you think there's any possibility of that happening?

CAMERON: Well, I think what we should do, and, to be fair, the British government's taken a lead on this by employing a judge from the International Criminal Court, is make sure we are charting every criminal act that takes place because, you know, even as the IC -- International Committee of the Red Cross put it, even -- even wars have rules. There are certain weapons that you are not allowed to use and also the deliberate targeting of civilians is effectively a war crime. So, we should be checking and reporting on and collating all of these things so that there is the potential later on.

But I think, John, it goes to a wider point, which is, we've all seen the incredible bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian armed forces. And we must do everything we can to help them with weapons, with training, with aid, with assistance. We're doing that. And that's right.

But we've also got to recognize that while we can't put our own troops in, and while we can't operate a no-fly zone for fear of making this conflict go wider, we must do everything else we can, whether that is charting war crimes, whether that's turning up the heat on the sanctions, whether it's making sure that all the oligarchs are being sanctioned in every country.

I mean look today at what is happening with the ruble and the Russian stock market. They're making something of a recovery. And so we've got to do our bit economically just as the Ukrainian armed forces are doing their bit militarily.

BERMAN: Am I right, did you personally travel 1,000 miles to deliver aid to Ukrainian refugees near the border?

CAMERON: That's right. I live in a little town in Oxfordshire (ph). And we -- I take part in a food project there. And we asked people for donations for the Ukrainian refugees who were coming across the Polish border. And we were overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that we were given.

We then checked out very carefully what it was the Red Cross wanted to have. It was mostly first-aid kits and sanitary products and dried food and clothes and things like that. And so I hired a seven and a half ton laurie (ph) and checked my driver's license that I was allowed to assist with the driving. And it was about 20 hours. I mean, for you guys, that's nothing. That's a trip across, you know, a couple of Dakotas or Wyoming and Montana. But for us Brits, it's a long drive. So it was about 20 hours there and 20 hours back. And me and a couple of colleagues from this food project dropped off a whole lot of stuff at the Red Cross depot in Poland. It wasn't quite on the border.

But I think it's very important when you and try and help with these things to make sure you're delivering what's actually needed to the right people in the right place. And we were keen to make sure that happened.

It's a small thing, but I think we're all frustrated by thinking, you know, what more can we do? How can we help these people in this barbaric scene? Something that belongs in another century.

BERMAN: I will say, I would have loved to have seen that at the time, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom driving a giant truck. I'm sure that was a sight to behold.

We really appreciate the work that you did there and we appreciate you being with us this morning.

CAMERON: Thank you very much.

BERMAN: So, hundreds of Ukrainians killed when Russian forces bombed a theater in Mariupol. A survivor of the attack will share her miraculous story ahead.

Plus, texts from Justice Clarence Thomas's wife about overturning the 2020 election causing an ethics dilemma on the Supreme Court. Now Chief Justice John Roberts caught in the middle.



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The news that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's wife Ginni strategized with the Trump White House to overturn the 2020 election, as you can imagine is raising some pretty big ethical questions for the justice. It's a dilemma for the leader of the court as well. So, what is a chief justice to do? CNN's Joan Biskupic is here with her new reporting.

What is Justice Roberts -- Chief Justice Roberts to do?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: This is a tough one for him. If he has had any message since he became chief in 2005, it has been about the integrity of the court. He rebuked President Trump on this. He's rebuked members of Congress, trying to stress just how impartial the justices are and how much they're roped off from politics.

And then you have something like this where Clarence Thomas did not recuse during all these election matters and we now discover how much his wife was involved in trying to overthrow the election results.

But here's the thing many people don't realize. Chief Justice John Roberts is not the boss of Clarence Thomas. He's not the boss of any of them. They're all appointed for life. And, when it really comes down to it, they can only be removed through impeachment.

Now, they're supposed to recuse if their impartiality can be reasonably questioned. But as Chief Justice John Roberts has said, that is a decision for each of them to make. They do not sit in judgment of each other on that.


So he can't say, you know, you have to leave. They can't take a vote and say you have to not participate now that we know the situation. But the chief does have some moral authority, of course, with his colleagues. He could perhaps pull Justice Thomas aside and encourage him to be more public about how he makes these recusal decisions. Or perhaps finally the chief could encourage his colleagues to formally adopt an ethics code. They say they generally abide by the code that lower court judges follow, but it's not official. It's not -- it's -- they don't even have one in writing that they would -- they would consider, you know, as they're -- as they're going through the process that's just distinct to them.

Justice Elana Kagan said publicly three years ago that the chief was thinking about this, but nothing came of it.

And one last thing, Brianna, I just want to tell you about Clarence Thomas. Right now he has so much more authority within the court in terms of peer cases and votes than the chief does simply because of the three Trump appointees. He has more power with the right wing of the court that's now been dominating. And he's also got a lot of loyalty among the new Trump appointees. So, I think that the chief has -- is walking a very fine line in terms of what he can actually do and then what he can subtly do in terms of collegial relations.

KEILAR: That's really interesting.

I always mention when we're talking about this that we have to look at that decision where Supreme Court Justice Thomas was the lone person to say that those documents shouldn't go. BISKUPIC: He was the only one who publicly dissented. And I have to

say, in the run-up to all that, while we were in the heat of the election in November and then right after, he was ruling in all sorts of cases and actually talking about, you know, fraud is such a threat to America, picking up a page from the Donald Trump playbook.

KEILAR: Yes. So important to note.


KEILAR: Joan, thank you so much for that report.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

KEILAR: The State Department reissuing its travel advisories for Ukraine and Russia. Their new warning to Americans about what Russia may be doing.

And a courageous mother's dangerous journey from Poland to Ukraine, risking it all to rescue her son. She's going to join us ahead on NEW DAY.



KEILAR: New this morning, the State Department has reissued its travel advisories for Ukraine and Russia to warn Americans that they may be singled out for detention by Russian officials.

Joining me now is former CNN Moscow bureau chief and adjunct professor at Georgetown University, Jill Dougherty. And Anders Aslund with us. He is the author of "Russia's Crony Capitalism: The Path from Market Economy to Kleptocracy."

I want to talk to you about what Russia is saying they're doing versus what they are really doing. They're talking about dramatically reducing activity when it comes to Kyiv and it comes to Chernihiv. And yet we had the mayor of Chernihiv on saying that this is completely untrue what they're doing.

Jill, what is Russia doing, in your view?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I always try to read the fine print because -- which I actually did. And if you look at it, they are defining it in kind of a different way. They made it very clear, this is not a cease-fire. And I think what they're doing is they are pulling troops away from that region in order to move them to the east, which is now the center of interest for them, those breakaway regions, and they are trying to, you know, completely control those and, ultimately, I think make the point that they have won the war. I should say, he has won the war, President Putin

KEILAR: Trying to create that narrative, right?

DOUGHERTY: Exactly. This is all in quotes. KEILAR: OK. All in quotes. And yet the shelling continues, right? So

maybe even if there is some movement of troops, when you're talking about the danger to civilians, Anders, it's still there. It really hasn't changed.

ANDERS ASLUND, AUTHOR, "RUSSIA'S CRONY CAPITALISM": Indeed. And I think that this terrible bombing will continue. And most of it is being done in Russia, from bases in Russia and Belarus. And what we heard tonight is that all parts of the Ukraine were bombed. This is terrible.

KEILAR: Do you see this as a -- do you see this as a refocusing on the east or do you also think this might be a regrouping around Kyiv or Chernihiv? What do you think?

ASLUND: Yes, we're -- approximately what your other guest (ph) said, I think that the battle of Kyiv was won by the Ukrainians now. And now we have a big battle of Donbas that we should focus on next.

KEILAR: OK. And so, will the Russians come back to Kyiv as an objective for encircling and capturing, do you think?

DOUGHERTY: You know, again, if you look at the fine print, what they are saying is Kyiv is the center of the Ukrainian government. And they didn't use those words, though. They said the people who make the decisions are located in Kyiv. So, therefore, we don't want to damage, you know, Kyiv too much because these are the people that have to be talked to.

I think, of course, it's, you know, trying to cover themselves for the defeat. What appears to be a defeat. But, you know, you don't know. This is the problem with Putin, you really don't know. But physically I don't think he can come back to Kyiv and try to take it over. I think that's over.

KEILAR: Interest. Do you think this is getting, Jill, through to Russians, everyday Russians?

DOUGHERTY: No, I don't. But the problem, you know, is that -- I was watching Russian TV again, as I do, this morning and Russians are seeing the story of Donbas right now.


Those breakaway regions. This is the primary interest. And anything that's happening in Kyiv is not being reported on for the most part by the Russian media because that's not the story they want. They want the story of brave Russians who are protecting Russian speakers in the eastern part of the country. That is all the want to show to the people.

KEILAR: Big -- it might be getting through to the oligarchs. Big threats to their toys, right? We've just seen, in the U.K., another superyacht of an oligarch seized. Are they getting the message? Are they telling Putin what they're experiencing and is that influencing him? ASLUND: I don't think that they have much contact with Putin. And they

have not played massively to one place, Dubai, and that cannot be very, very safe, both with their yachts and with their people -- people and families. So, the important people are the top (INAUDIBLE), the top security people. And they have not been seen recently

KEILAR: You said it's not safe? Did you say it's not safe for them to be in Dubai? Maybe I misunderstood.

ASLUND: Yes, I don't think it's very safe to be so many important people in one place because Dubai is on the gray list of the fact -- the financial action task force, the main international body against money laundering. Dubai is today the big black hole in the international finance.

KEILAR: A very interesting point. Anders, thank you so much.

Jill, thank you so much, and great to see you.

DOUGHERTY: Thanks. Good to see you.

KEILAR: The former U.S. Marine imprisoned inside of Russia is now on a hunger strike, and his parents are right now outside of the White House demanding to meet with President Biden. They're going to join us live.

Plus, moments from now, a NASA astronaut will returning to earth in a Russian spacecraft along with Russian cosmonauts in the middle of this war.



BERMAN: As home and rent prices soar, Americans are struggling to keep up with the cost of living. Many are resort to taking places they can fix up themselves only to find that option may be just as expensive.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich joins us now with that story.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: John, Americans spend the most on where they live every single month. Their homes or apartments. And pent-up demand and short supply is pushing prices to record levels. And if you're lucky to get your hands on a new home, you're probably going to pay more to even fix it up. This is just another example of how inflation is affecting Americans where they live, quite literally.


ALLISON BRAUN, FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER: This was nothing as I expected, purchasing my first home.

YURKEVICH (voice over): Allison Braun bought her first home in February. After losing bidding wars and paying $75,000 over budget, she settled on a fixer-upper, expecting to save some money.

BRAUN: It was really surprising getting in here and fixing things up. Overwhelming is another way I'd explain it.

YURKEVICH: Rents are up a record 17 percent in the last year, with homes up nearly 20 percent. And so are construction costs. Braun, who works for the real estate company Redfin, is re-doing nearly every space in her home. The kitchen needed new counters.

BRAUN: And we were really surprised by the cost, especially the labor to put them in. We wanted to figure out a way of how we can do our countertops on our own and save cost and labor. So, the concrete counterparts were born.

YURKEVICH: She saved $3,300 by doing them with her partner. She tried the same with her floors, but underestimated how much she would need and the rapidly rising costs of lumber.

BRAUN: We didn't estimate enough wood for the first floor. And we went back to buy more wood for the flooring and it ended up that after a month's time the flooring went up about 25 cents per square foot.

YURKEVICH: But it's not just homeowners getting stuck with higher costs. Construction materials are up 24 percent in the last year.

Bill McGrath's company is installing elevators in this new residential housing complex in New Jersey. So far they've put in two.

YURKEVICH (on camera): What are the materials in this elevation that you have seen an increase on?

BILL MCGRATH, PRESIDENT AND CEO, SOUTH JERSEY ELEVATOR: Well, right here you have the electronics, which this is stainless steel. You have the plastics, the electronic boards behind it. That's costing more. The ceilings. Wood. You're standing on lumber. There's steel underneath.

YURKEVICH: And is all of it going up?


YURKEVICH (voice over): Supply chain slowdowns and demand have pushed construction costs up, forcing projects to come in overbudget and over deadline.

YURKEVICH (on camera): How much more is this elevator going to cost than the one we just saw?

MCGRATH: We're at -- right, this one here is going to cost 17 percent more in material costs than the other two that we completed.

YURKEVICH (voice over): And he says his 18-person company is spending more on gas to bring materials in, up 24 percent in the last month. All of these rising costs will get passed down.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Where's the end? MCGRATH: I guess the people that will be living here.

YURKEVICH (voice over): For Braun, the higher costs means accepting things like painting the outside of the house gets put on hold.

BRAUN: But we'd love to get -- hire somebody to do that. That's been put on the back burner now and we're just going to have to learn to love the green.


YURKEVICH: Now, Americans are acutely aware of how much inflation is impacting them. They're very concerned. And the question is, how long will this last? Bill McGrath, who you heard from, from the elevator company, says he thinks it will get worse before it gets better, but that is where the Federal Reserve is stepping in. they're going to raise interest rates over this next year.


But, John, in turn, that means that mortgage rates are going to rise, potentially pricing many Americans out of homes.