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New Day

Kushner Speaks with January 6th Committee; Chilling Account of Destroyed Town; Tow Killed in Florida Tornado; Families Vacation Despite Prices. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 01, 2022 - 06:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Is because I doubt two weeks ago you would have thought about going back to the city. But now things have changed enough where you feel like it's -- it's OK, the Ukrainian forces have performed well enough where you feel that you could go?

ANASTASIA, ESCAPED FROM IRPIN TO LVIV, WITNESSED BOMB FALL ON HER NEIGHBOR'S BACKYARD: Honestly, there hasn't been a day when I haven't thought about going back. And the reason I'm not because I know I can do more from here. So, when we were in Irpin, we were basically in the basement 24/7. And really you can't do much from the basement.


ANASTASIA: You don't have internet. You don't -- you can't do much. From here, we can actually volunteer and help and help other people. So that's the only reason I wasn't going back. But, at this point, it seems like our army is pushing back very strongly, and I would love to go back home.

BERMAN: Well, listen, it's so nice to meet you. Please be safe. And we do hope it's soon.

ANASTASIA: Absolutely.

BERMAN: Thank you so much.

ANASTASIA: Thank you.

BERMAN: More on the breaking news. Reports this morning that Ukrainians have struck a target inside Russia. That would be significant. How will Vladimir Putin respond?

Plus, a U.S. doctor joins us live on his harrowing journey to save his daughter and grandson who were stuck in Ukraine.

And, Jared Kushner volunteering information to the House January 6th committee. Well, he answered questions for six hours. Let's figure out how much he actually did volunteer. A new report on that coming up.



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: A member of the House Select Committee on January 6th telling CNN that Jared Kushner, the son-in-law to former President Donald Trump, volunteered information during his interview with the panel. A source familiar with the deposition tells CNN that the interview lasted for more than six hours.

Joining us now is Maggie Haberman, CNN political analyst and Washington correspondent for "The New York Times."

To be on a fly on the wall of this six-hour interview, Maggie. What do we know about it?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We know very little so far, Brianna. We know that he sat, as you said, for six hours. I believe that he did not invoke executive privilege, which is interesting, especially given how long this was. And, yes, people have said that he volunteered information.

Now, remember, Jared Kushner was not physically at the White House while the Capitol attack was first underway. He was returning from a trip to the Middle East. He was around and not around for a lot of that period after November 3rd on election day.

But what he could speak to is the former president's state of mind and he could speak to what people were saying to Trump about the idea that the election was basically over. That even if he continued with legal challenges, that there wasn't really anywhere to go. And so I imagine all of that is what was focused on, as well as a lot of witness have been asked about Mark Meadows and what Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff, was doing. I think that likely factored in as well.

KEILAR: We've also learned that the Department of Justice is expanding its probe. It's not just looking at people who actually physically stormed the Capitol. But according to your reporting, and the reporting of your colleagues, looking at a particular subpoena, it appears that they're looking now at people much closer to President Trump.

What have you learned?

HABERMAN: We know that they're looking at a wide range of people. It is -- it is people who stormed the Capitol, which, obviously, there have been a lot of arrests. But now they're trying to look at people who were involved in rally organizing and planning. What that ends up looking like, Brianna, remains to be seen because there are free speech issues that I think lawyers for people who could be charged, if they are, will be raised.

So far what we know of is people who are witnesses. Whether charges ultimately end up being filed remains to be seen. But it -- there is some movement by the Justice Department, at a time when there have been a lot of questions about what exactly DOJ is up to.

KEILAR: I also want to ask you about just a fascinating report that you have out yesterday, which is about the White House photographer who took so many pictures of President Trump and a book that she was expecting to publish, as so many White House photographers do. You know, that's what Pete Souza did, the photographer for President Obama. And, in the end, she decided not to publish her book because President Trump -- or at least in part President Trump published his. Tell us about this.

HABERMAN: So, this is a really interesting story. My colleague, Eric Lipton and I published yesterday. Trump's former White House photographer, Shealah Craighead, you know, with whom he had something of a contentious relationship. You know, a lot of people who worked for him said that he was pretty tough on her much of the time. He was also very focused on her product because, as we know, he likes looking at pictures of himself and spends a fair amount of time on that in looking for the best images.

She had been interested in putting together as a book of photos, as is, you know, a long-standing custom. These photos are public domain. You know, despite the fact that they're her photos, they are public domain. That's how this works.

She had had some discussions with people around Trump. It was made clear that he was interested in some cut of her profits. And then there was some, you know, discussion about whether he would participate. And then, all of a sudden, he was going ahead with his own book of White House photos. And there are a lot of people around, you know, Trump, even people who really like him, who are put off by what happened here. A bunch of them think that she should have -- the photographer should have go ahead and published her own book, and that's fine, but I can also understand why it's hard to do that when Trump is such a, you know, dominating figure who is going to criticize people for doing things he doesn't like. It just creates a chilling effect. And I -- and the wanting a piece of the profit is something that I have never heard of before.

KEILAR: That is so unusual. I also -- something that really stood out to me in your reporting was that as you were reporting this out, he, former President Trump, actually reached out to the photographer. Is that right?

HABERMAN: Yes. That's right. So, they had not spoken since he left the White House.


And after we sent questions to Trump's people, he suddenly reached out to her for the first conversation. And it was pleasant. And I think it was talking about, you know, working together in the future.

But this is a move, Brianna, that we have seen from former President Trump many times when somebody -- you know, he thinks somebody might be saying something about him, he reaches out to them.

But it is notable that it did not happen until we started our reporting.

KEILAR: Yes, it's fascinating. A very fascinating report. I encourage everyone to read it.

Maggie, thank you so much for being with us.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

KEILAR: The horrific aftermath in a small Ukrainian border town following a month long Russian occupation. A reporter who was there describes what he saw next.

Plus, what would Americans do if they were in the same position that Ukrainians are now? Would they stay and fight or would they flee their country? The results of a new poll may surprise you.


BERMAN: This morning, Ukrainians are back in control with a small border town after a month long occupation by Russian troops. This is what Trostyanets looks like now. Scenes of just total destruction.

Christoph Reuter, a reporter for the German magazine "Der Spiegel," he was there, and he has written about what he saw once the Russians withdrew.


I had a chance to speak to him about it overnight.


BERMAN: Christoph, what was it like in Trostyanets after the month- long occupation by the Russians?

CHRISTOPH REUTER, FOREIGN DESK REPORTER, "DER SPIEGEL": We arrived as the first foreign journalists probably about 36, 40 hours after the last Russians had left, which the local people didn't know first because there is no working mobile line system, no land lines. So when we came it was basically the first hours people dared to go out through their city, which they hadn't -- many of them hadn't -- they had to do for one month. And there were incredible scenes of people meeting each other not knowing the other were still alive. Some had tears in their eyes to see the destruction. Others had tears in their eyes because it was simply happy to have survived. It was, you know, this freezing cold and extremely emotional moment for the people of Trostyanets.

BERMAN: What a moment. What a moment that must have been.

And we don't have that much visibility, or haven't until this point, on what life has been like for people under Russian control. So, when the Russians were in control there, how did they treat the civilian population?

REUTER: This is the interesting thing because Trostyanets was (ph) -- is like a case study where you really had Russians, 600 -- up to 600 for one month. And when they entered, they was basically indifference. They did not interact with the local population. They had their food rations. They came, they took the empty police headquarter, the train station, took base there. But then, after one week approximately, they were shelled for the first time and they learned rather quickly that everybody in the town was against them and mainly were informing the Ukrainians army, (INAUDIBLE) about their location. So the Ukrainians would shell very precisely the tank positions, et cetera. Plus, after a few days, the Russians ran out of food. They had food rations, obviously, only for very few days. And what they did was to loot local supermarkets, to loot local people, and to become very aggressive towards everybody, basically, out of panic, paranoia that everyone who gets near them could be an informer, and then they get shelled and die.

So, they introduced a curfew after 3:00 in the afternoon. And whoever was out on the street risked to be shot and many were shot or captured, then tortured in the headquarters of the interrogation in the basement of the train station.

BERMAN: What about the Russian troops themselves? The people you talked to. What do they tell you about how much the Russians knew about the war and what their mission actually was?

REUTER: Some people, like the head of security of the big chocolate factory, he talked with the Russians because they accepted him as kind of an official spokesperson or somebody who was important. And the Russians asked him in mid-March, late March, where are we? Have we taken Kyiv? Have we taken Kharkiv? Is Zelenskyy dead? They had no clue what was happening in the country. There was no plan. There was nothing.


BERMAN: That is truly remarkable, that the Russians in the town had no idea what was going on. They were asking locals who were watching the news to tell them the status of their invasion.

Our thanks to Christoph for that.

We just haven't had a window into what life was like or is like in some of the areas that are under Russian occupation. So that was simply fascinating.

We do have breaking news, though, this morning.

What could be a Ukrainian air strike from helicopters over the border in Russia. What happened? We'll give you the latest details about what could be an extraordinary attack, the first of its kind. Thousands of hungry people trapped in besieged Mariupol. Russians are blocking aid from getting in and residents from getting out.



KEILAR: Two people are now dead after a tornado struck in the Florida panhandle. Homes in Washington County are just gone, as you can see here, just destroyed. Trees just ripped from the ground. Part of a storm system that tore through the south and is headed up the East Coast.

Let's get to meteorologist Chad Myers.

I mean even here in Washington, D.C., there was a tornado warning last night.


I have never seen anything like that in all my years here.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It has been a very rough March. In fact, with the 38 that we picked up, tornadoes, over the past three days, we now have March 2022 as the highest number of tornados in any March of any year since we've been counting since 1950.

We're not seeing any tornadoes right now. We're not seeing any significant severe weather yet. But what we're seeing behind this is the cold air. I hope you're headed to spring break up here, Michigan, Buffalo, all the way into Pittsburgh, there is snow on the ground today. Watch out for those snow squalls. We know what happened with that multicar crash in the snow squall that happened just a couple of days ago.

We calm things down, except for Florida. They'll have some storms. But, for the most part, this weekend will be a clam one. We will see some snow. One to three inches in some spots. You get into a squall, it could be six. But, other than that, we do warm back up. We're back to at least where we should be, back to normal for a couple days across parts of the northeast and even warmer than normal across the southwest.


KEILAR: All right, I'll take it.

Chad Myers, thank you.

MYERS: You're welcome.

KEILAR: So, as the pandemic subsides, many American families are feeling that they're in dire need of a vacation. But just as coronavirus restrictions are lifting, now travel prices are increasing.

CNN's Natasha Chen has more.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were just going to come and blow it out.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For families who haven't traveled much in the last two to three years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's given me time to save up and to get organized and budget it.

CHEN: They're determined to take a trip in spite of the sticker shock.

CHEN (on camera): From here in California, where tourists are paying some of the highest gas prices in the nation, to higher airfares due to unprecedented demand, to higher hotel rates like here in Miami Beach where the average price is more than $500 a night.

CHEN (voice over): On the travel website Kayak, recent searches show the average price of domestic flights to Panama City, Florida, for example, is $494. In March of 2019, that would have averaged just over $300.

The Kabar (ph) family flew from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once we got out here, we realized that things are very expensive right now.

CHEN: They decided against a rental car. The average rental car in the U.S. according to Kayak averages $76 a day. More than $20 higher than two years ago.

But even without a rental car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're actually spending more money in Uber than we are in flying out here.

CHEN: That's likely because regular gas is on average more than $4 a gallon this month. The highest of any month in history. Up from $2.51 in March of 2019. That's affecting the owner of StarLine Tours, who says the company typically spends $100 a day on fuel for these buses. And now they're spending $220 every day.

KAMI FARHADI, CHAIRMAN, STARLINE TOURS: We've still maintained our prize at the moment, but we're going to have to look at going to full summer pricing right now rather than waiting until the summer.

CHEN: Kayak shows hotel rates averaging about $300 per night, up nearly $70 since March of 2019. Even theme parks will cost you more, from paid express lines to pricier food.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is adding up. It's expensive to just eat. Because these boys don't -- they play around -- they don't play around. They're hungry all the time.

ELAINE EDWARDS, TRAVEL AGENT: People are accepting it and they're going. Now, maybe they're making adjustments along the way.

CHEN: While the cheapest, single day Disney ticket stayed the same price since 2019, there are now fewer days priced at value season. Meanwhile, a discount tracking website, Mousesavers, shows the most expensive types of tickets at Disneyland and Disney World during the busiest season jumped 11 or 12 percent from two years ago. Wherever they go, however much it costs, some families say they just need to get out of the house now and they'll scale back later.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we will probably make a smaller summer vacation because we made a bigger spring break vacation. CHEN: Natasha Chen, CNN, Los Angeles.


KEILAR: And NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: All right, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Friday, April 1st. I'm John Berman, live in western Ukraine. Brianna Keilar is in Washington.

And we do begin this morning with what could be significant breaking news. A potential extraordinary development. Reports of a Ukrainian strike inside Russia across the border. We have this new video which shows a fire at a fuel depot. This is in Russia but near the Ukrainian border in the city of Belgorod. This is near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. Belgorod's governor claims that this fuel depot was attacked by two Ukrainian helicopters, which he says entered the territory flying at low altitude.

Now, CNN cannot confirm this claim. But, if true, it would be a significant development and a counterattack.


A reprisal attack by the Ukrainians.