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CNN: DOJ's Investigation Into Hunter Biden Picking Up Steam; Ukrainian Artists Show Resistance To War Through Their Work; Family Of Imprisoned American In Russia Pleads For Biden Meeting. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 30, 2022 - 07:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: We have some brand-new CNN reporting.

A Justice Department investigation on Hunter Biden, the president's son, has intensified over the last several months. The investigation has been going on since 2018 and this stems from Biden's business dealings -- from Hunter Biden's business dealings in foreign countries like Ukraine while his father was serving as vice president. Sources tell CNN that President Biden is not being investigated in relation to his son's dealing.

Joining me now is CNN senior justice correspondent Evan Perez, and CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig.

Evan, just lay out your reporting here because this is very, very bad for the president's son.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It is, and it's an investigation, as you pointed out, going back to 2018. And right now, prosecutors in Delaware are focusing on a number of things, including whether Hunter Biden and some of his business associates violated laws, including tax and money laundering laws and foreign lobbying laws.

A lot of this has to do with Hunter Biden's time working with this company called Burisma, an energy company in Ukraine. He was getting paid as much as $50,000 a month for that company during the time that the -- Joe Biden, his father, was vice president. Was in charge of handling Ukraine issues for the Obama administration. And that, of course, raised questions of a conflict.

And so, what we know is this investigation -- you know, for a while, it has been going on and it seemed to -- not a lot was going on until recently. A lot of activity has picked up. We know witnesses have gone in to talk to the grand jury in Delaware. We know of witnesses who are going in to talk to investigators in the next few weeks. So we know that there is a lot of activity now picking up.

He's not been charged. He says that there -- Hunter Biden says that he committed no wrongdoing and that he says at the end of this he believes he'll be cleared. But obviously, as you pointed out, this is a political mess for the sitting president to have his son being investigated by the Justice Department -- his own Justice Department.

KEILAR: Yes. He was making a lot of money doing something he definitely should not have been doing while his dad was vice president.

PEREZ: Right.

KEILAR: I remember seeing that portfolio.

Elie, how do you see this?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER STATE AND FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, Brianna, this is a very real, very substantial investigation of potentially serious federal crimes.

We are seeing federal prosecutors in Delaware do exactly what you would expect to see federal prosecutors do in this situation. They're talking to witnesses. They're bringing people into the grand jury. They're issuing subpoenas. And I would expect, as Evan reported, they're now gaining steam.

And they need to make a decision, I think, in the at least intermediate future. This case has been going on for four years and there is a realistic chance this could result in federal charges. Of course, then we'd be in unprecedented political territory, not legal territory -- but a situation of having potentially the Justice Department prosecuting and trying to imprison the son of the president.

KEILAR: Yes. You mentioned politics. I mean, politics, Elie, have factored into so much of this from the interest in this case by President Trump and his associates as well. That's actually something that I think may have backfired in a way initially in this.

HONIG: Yes, Brianna, two things can be true at the same time. Donald Trump can have committed all sorts of abuses of power and outrageous acts trying to push people to investigate Hunter Biden, but there also could independently be a legitimate investigation of Hunter Biden.

And the history is really important here because Bill Barr -- this is the one thing I will say Bill Barr did absolutely correctly. When he became attorney general in 2019 this investigation was already going on and Bill Barr did not leak it. He made sure DOJ did not leak it before the investigation. If he had done that, that really could have influenced things.

And I have to say Joe Biden deserves political credit here for keeping his hands off. Typically, when a new president comes in -- especially of a new party -- he gets rid of all 93 U.S. attorneys across the country. Here, Joe Biden left two U.S. attorneys in place -- one is John Durham and the other is this U.S. attorney David Weiss in the district of Delaware -- because he did not want to give any appearance of political interference in this case or the Durham case.

KEILAR: Yes, it's a really important point.

Elie, thank you so much. Evan, thank you as well.

HONIG: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, in so many parts of Ukraine, there's a battle on the ground and in the air. But there's also another battle going on to the cultural soul of this nation and it is being waged by determined artists on the front lines of creativity.



BERMAN (voice-over): War is everywhere in Ukraine but so is art. In Lviv, art with a clear message. And here in the Lviv Municipal Art Center, that art comes to life.

BERMAN (on camera): What do you want them to feel?

MYKHAILO SKOP, ARTIST: I want them to feel what we feel.

BERMAN (on camera): Which is?

SKOP: Terrified but honor and that history is now.

BERMAN (on camera): History is now.

SKOP: Yes.

BERMAN (voice-over): Artist Mykhailo Skop is working on a series of anti-war posters, stickers, and cards like this one.

BERMAN (on camera): This drawing you're working on here --

SKOP: Yes.

BERMAN (on camera): -- is of the last judgment.

SKOP: Yes.

BERMAN (on camera): -- and those being judged. Show me who's being judged here.

SKOP: Here will be Putin, his soldiers, his generals, and maybe some civilians. Some people who help Putin now in the Internet.

BERMAN (on camera): "Ukrainian judgment" --

SKOP: Yes.

BERMAN (on camera): -- it says.

SKOP: It will be a judgment for Russian. BERMAN (on camera): This is -- this is dark.

SKOP: Yes. Do you see the ground are full of black because we live in black times. In very dark, dark, dark, terrible times.

BERMAN (on camera): You need to tell the world your story.

SKOP: Yes, yes because we is a part of the world. We not some crazy (INAUDIBLE) that killing each other. No. We Europeans.

BERMAN (voice-over): Mykhailo was just one of many artists working at this center, which has become a wartime hub for artists from all over the country. They even turned on gallery into an air raid shelter.

Their art is their own form of resistance.

BERMAN (on camera): Why is it important to show these messages?

LYANA MYTSKO, ARTIST: Yes, because Ukraine -- this is not only culture -- only war, this is also great culture. If we can tell by our art that we can show different messages and different cause of Ukrainian nation.

BERMAN (on camera): That your culture survives.

MYTSKO: Yes, exactly.

BERMAN (on camera): And this a famous Ukrainian poet?

MYTSKO: Yes, yes, Taras Shevchencko (ph). This is part of his (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN (on camera): What does it say?

MYTSKO: (Speaking foreign language). Of truth, power, and freedom.

BERMAN (on camera): Truth, power, freedom.


BERMAN (voice-over): The Art Center is also selling stickers with proceeds going toward the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Kyiv. It's pilot who fighting with Russian pilots. And it's mythological (INAUDIBLE). Ukrainians believe that it's one hero.

BERMAN (on camera): Can you show me another one of your stickers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. What do you see here? Can you tell me? What do you see?

BERMAN (on camera): I see a building.


BERMAN (on camera): I see a bombed-out building. I see people living their lives in the bombed-out building without walls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's correct. It's a real building from Kharkiv.

BERMAN (on camera): Uh-huh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw the photo of this room.

BERMAN (on camera): And this is almost the life that was inside.


BERMAN (on camera): Almost a ghost of the life that was --


BERMAN (on camera): -- that was destroyed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a powerful symbol.

BERMAN (on camera): Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This building wasn't built to be a ruin -- no. It was made to be a home. A house for many people.

BERMAN (voice-over): The power of a symbol. The power of art with a message stronger than words.


BERMAN: So, these posters, Brianna, are just everywhere. Posters, stickers, signs everywhere you look and it's really interesting to see. And it's not just -- we talked about it in that piece. It's not just that Ukrainian culture survives.

The important thing is that it exists. Because Vladimir Putin denies the existence of a unique Ukrainian culture. And the artists insist no, no, no, no -- we're here. Look at us. Look at what we're doing here. And it's just beautiful to see.

KEILAR: It is. And I also think you see what art adds, right? We've seen the pictures of the bombed-out buildings and he's showing you the lives that it is destroying. It's really -- it was really an amazing report. Thank you so much, Berman.

Right now we're looking at some pictures, moments ago, out of Kazakhstan where NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei just returned to earth after a record 355 days in space. Vande Hei was traveling with two cosmonauts in a Russian space capsule, which raised some concerns about his journey home amid growing tensions, of course, between the U.S. and Russia over Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.


CNN's Rachel Crane is joining us now on this. It's interesting, though Rachel. We saw this crew interacting in space in a very friendly way in stark contrast to what we're seeing back on Earth.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN BUSINESS INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Brianna. That's the real key here -- that stark contrast. The cooperation and peaceful work that's happening up in space against the tense geopolitical tensions here on Earth. Space really being one of the last diplomatic links between the U.S. and Russia.

Now, folks around the world are really breathing a sigh of relief in terms of this -- today's landing because as you can imagine, due to those geopolitical tensions there was some concern about how today's landing would go -- if, in fact, Vande Hei would be coming back at all. Because at one point, Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, had tweeted out a video suggesting that they could perhaps abandon Vande Hei, leaving him behind on the International Space Station.

But as we saw today, today's landing was nominal. Vande Hei, now an American hero back on terra firma.

But, you know, interesting to further highlight that stark contrast between what happens in space and what's happening down here on Earth. Russian cosmonaut Shkaplerov handed over the key to the International Space Station -- command of the International Space Station to NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn on Tuesday and he had some very powerful words. Take a listen.


ANTON SHKAPLEROV, RUSSIAN COSMONAUT: People have problem on Earth. In orbit, we are like -- we are not like. We are one crew and I think ISS is like symbol of the friendship. We are like my space brothers and space sister.


CRANE: Brianna, if only we were brothers and sisters here on Earth as well.

Now, right now, search and rescue teams are headed to that capsule to open that hatch where we will see -- soon see Vande Hei exit from the Soyuz capsule -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, we'll be watching. Rachel Crain, thank you.

New pleas this morning from the family of former Marine Trevor Reed in detainment and now on a hunger strike in Russia. Why Trevor's parents are outside the White House this morning. They'll be joining us next.



BERMAN: New developments this morning in the case of Trevor Reed, the former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Russia for allegedly endangering the life and health of Russian police officers in an altercation back in 2019. He's on a hunger strike to protest being sent back to solitary confinement without treatment for a suspected case of tuberculosis.

The U.S. State Department says Reed was convicted without credible evidence.

Joining us now, Paula and Joey Reed, the parents of Trevor. They're outside the White House in an effort to get a meeting with President Biden about their son who has been detained in Russia for 958 days now. Thank you both for being with me right now.

Explain to me this hunger strike. What is Trevor doing, and why?

JOEY REED, FATHER OF TREVOR REED WHO HAS BEEN DETAINED IN RUSSIA SINCE 2019: Well, Trevor had some sort of injury where he thinks he might have a broken rib. Plus, he has all the symptoms of active tuberculosis.

He went to a prison hospital for about 10 days and then when they -- they didn't treat him. They took an x-ray that didn't work. And when they brought him back to his prison he said I need to go back. I'm still hurt and sick. And they put him in solitary confinement again where he'd been for most of the last seven months.

So he's protesting that. That's against all Russian regulations and European human rights.

BERMAN: How long has he been on the hunger strike, and how is he doing? How is his health?

J. REED: We sent an attorney in yesterday, so he informed us that Trevor had been on the hunger strike since 10:00 a.m. on Monday morning. So, he -- Trevor said he's OK. He wrote us a note. They let him actually have -- send a note this time. Last time, they didn't let him give the attorney any written messages.

So, he says he's OK but he's still coughing blood. And he says he has something protruding out of his side, either a rib or cartilage -- and yet, receiving no treatment for it except aspirin.

BERMAN: So he's coughing blood, he has something protruding from his side, and he's been on a hunger strike now for three days.

Paula, how concerned are you about his well-being at this time?

PAULA REED, MOTHER OF TREVOR REED WHO HAS BEEN DETAINED IN RUSSIA SINCE 2019: Well, we're very concerned about his health. An active case of T.B. isn't good and the conditions in the prison are horrible. And the fact that they put him back in solitary confinement is really worrisome for us because we're just worried about his health.

BERMAN: I can imagine why.

Now look, you had a phone call with the president -- I believe it was, what, a few weeks ago. But now you're standing in front of the White House. Why?

P. REED: Twenty-two days ago. BERMAN: What is it you're hoping to get -- what are you hoping to get from the White House?

P. REED: OK. Well, it was 22 days ago when the president said that he would have someone call us immediately when he got back to D.C. and set it up. Well, the office staff has not called us. And we wanted to be here to bring attention to Trevor's case and to let them know that we did not forget. We are waiting for that phone call and we want the meeting that the president promised us.

BERMAN: So you've heard nothing from the White House at this point?

P. REED: Nothing.

J. REED: No. And John, if I could add, we're extremely concerned. Trevor's condition is deteriorating and the situation for Trevor, and for Paul Whelan, and for Brittney Griner is becoming increasingly worse. We fear that the Russians will put false -- other false charges on our son.


The trial, which I attended, showed evidence that he did not do the crime. It wasn't a lack of evidence -- it was plenty of evidence to show that he was innocent. And we're afraid that they'll put more false charges on him and the other prisoners if we don't get them out of there quickly.

BERMAN: How long are you prepared to stand outside the White House and wait?

P. REED: So far, we're scheduled until Friday but if we need to stay longer we might do that.

BERMAN: And what action do you want to see from them, specifically?

J. REED: We want to -- we want to meet with the president and we want to talk to him about prisoner swaps. Because obviously, respectfully asking the Russians to release these hostages has not worked. It's not going to work with any superpower or nuclear power. And they want something -- they want something that we could easily give and is no value to most Americans -- these Russians that have been in our prisons for a long time.

And we think that they need to do what President Obama did, what President Trump did, and trade to bring these Americans home.

BERMAN: Paula and Joey Reed, we send our best to you. We certainly send Trevor the best thoughts we can with his health condition being what it is. Know we're thinking about you and we're thinking about him. Keep us posted.

J. REED: Thank you, John.

P. REED: Thank you, John. We appreciate it. BERMAN: So, new video just obtained by CNN shows the devastation left in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv. Russian troops there -- this is after the Russian troops there were forced out by Ukrainian forces.

And this is the latest Russian-owned superyacht to be seized in Western waters.



KEILAR: In his new series on CNN+, best-selling author and business professor Scott Galloway isn't afraid to make bold predictions and his unapologetic take is essential viewing for anyone interested in how business, tech, and society intersect. His show, "NO MERCY, NO MALICE WITH SCOTT GALLOWAY" is on CNN+ every Tuesday.

And joining us now to talk about his debut episode is Scott Galloway. And Scott, before we get to your new show on CNN+, which we are all very excited about -- especially me, as you know -- I want to talk to you about inflation because you say it's the culprit behind the widening wealth gap. So explain to us how this works.

SCOTT GALLOWAY, CNN+ HOST, "NO MERCY, NO MALICE WITH SCOTT GALLOWAY" (via Webex by Cisco): Sure. Well, nowadays, inflation is too many dollars facing too few products. So on the supply side, we obviously have supply chain issues.

But according to the San Francisco Fed, the real culprit is the stimulus that appears we overdid -- $6 million or $7 million in stimulus. One in three dollars in circulation right now was printed post-COVID. The real danger is that it has become sort of embedded in our psychology this notion that I should buy things now because they're going to go up in price, which is sort of what created his inexorable spiral up in the '70s.

So, we're no longer using the term transitory, greatest inflation in 40 years. Purchasing power goes down. And basically, what's happened to us is parents who are sending our kids to college. Our purchasing power keeps going down, which is really just a hit to our prosperity and it hurts -- you know, hits the people most vulnerable, as most of this stuff does, Brianna.

KEILAR: And I also want to talk to you about something separate, which is a really powerful moment that is on your first episode. This is a moment -- I just want to tell our audience -- when you just finished a speech at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas and you were taking questions. And this is a father of a transgender child who stood up and asked you this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm wondering as a father of a transgender child --

GALLOWAY: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- if you would consider retiring your cross- dressing transphobic presentations? You have a voice and an impact.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm telling you I appreciate your thoughtful and intelligent perspective on everything.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But when I see that --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- I think about my child --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- being bullied. And I would ask you will you please consider how that affects all of our kids, especially in Texas now where they're trying to make it illegal --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to provide healthcare to your child.

GALLOWAY: I recognize my privilege may make me ignorant.

I thought in sort of maybe a delusional way that I was normalizing it.

I thought as a quote-unquote cisgender heterosexual man that I might actually be helping when I do that.

I want to be a great dad and part of that is being an ally for other great dads.

So, let me cut to the chase. I believe you are sincere. I will stop.


KEILAR: I really appreciate, Scott, that moment and I think a lot of people will, too. It clearly had such a big impact on you. And you were talking about making a mistake. Can you tell us about what you thought about what he said to you and how you came to that moment?

GALLOWAY: I was rattled, Brianna. You know, no one wants to -- you want to believe that you're a good dad and part of that is respecting other good dads. If your neighbor had asked you -- had said something you're doing is upsetting my child or could potentially upset my child, would you stop? I think most of us would say yes.

And I also recognize that in big tech, who I'm very critical of, a lot of them don't see the threats that their organizations present because they themselves have never been threatened.