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Strikes Overnight in Odessa; Manhunt in Sacramento; Ken Burns is Interviewed about Benjamin Franklin. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 04, 2022 - 08:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Overnight, the sounds of bombs falling in Odessa. Officials say Russian forces fired more than -- fired more missiles at the port city after hitting an oil refinery there in a -- yesterday.

We have CNN's Ed Lavandera, who is live for us in Odessa, Ukraine, with more.

Ed, tell us what has been happening. It seems like things have been relatively calm there for a while and we've seen this increase in missile strikes.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We certainly have. Yesterday was quite a day. This is a city, as you mentioned, that had been enjoying several days of quiet, but what happened yesterday has shaken the city.


LAVANDERA (voice over): The missiles exploded in a startling, violent barrage. About six strikes lit up the sky. Russian military officials say the attack on Odessa was launched from the sea and land using high-precision missiles.

The massive plumes of black, swirling smoke covered much of the city of 1 million people. The strikes landed in a largely industrial area, destroying an oil refinery and fuel storage facilities.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Multiple air strikes hit the port city of Odessa here in southern Ukraine just before sunrise Sunday morning. There were no air raid sirens that went off before the blast and the explosions could be felt and seen from miles away. LAVANDERA (voice over): Ukrainian officials say there were no

injuries, but Tatiana Gerasim says the explosions threw her from the chair she was sleeping in and window glass shattered all over her.

Tatiana volunteers in this building late into the night cooking meals for Ukrainian soldiers. In recent days, she says reconnaissance drones were flying over the fuel storage facility. Two other residents told us they saw the drones as well.

TATIANA GERASIM, LIVES IN ODESSA, UKRAINE (through translator): The drones were flying around and I knew they were up to something and could bomb the depot. And we've been thinking where we could hide in case something happens.

LAVANDERA: A small pocket of apartment buildings and homes sit just across the street from the bombing site. Families stood outside their homes under the clouds of dark smoke, watching flames shoot up into the air. The explosions shattered windows and any remaining sense of security these residents had left.


GERASIM: Of course I'm scared. And now they're hitting everywhere. They're doing it in all cities. We know it. We see it.

LAVANDERA: The attack on Odessa follows a similar pattern Russian force haves carried out for weeks, hitting fuel storage facilities across the country it claims are supplying their Ukrainian military. But if the Odessa strike is a precise attack, Ukrainian officials say the strikes hours later in the neighboring city of Mykolaiv have no rhyme or reason and are designed to harass and panic civilians.

Despite being this close to the bombing and with tears in her eyes, Tatiana Gerasim says she refuses to leave Ukraine. She tells me, these bastards won't get away with it.


LAVANDERA: And, Brianna, you know, one of the things that so many people here continue to watch closely as they're seeing the Russian forces retreating in the north and seeing what they left behind, they can't help but wonder and fear if that's what will become of this region in the south. And that's why they're paying such close attention to it.


KEILAR: Because, Ed, from the beginning it seemed like there was so much worry among residents and observers that there would be this sort of onslaught, maybe an amphibious attack from the south on Odessa, and that really didn't materialize. It seems like this has very much rejuvenated fears there.

LAVANDERA: Right. They're watching closely, as we've been reporting, this idea that Russian forces would regroup, come in through the east. Odessa is just a monumentally key port city for this country and so vital for Ukraine to hold on to. So, they're wondering, like how far south are they going to push when they come in through Mariupol, they hit Kherson, they hit Mykolaiv. And the next stop after that would be Odessa. You know, and right now Russian forces have been stalled out about halfway between here and Mariupol. But if they get those reinforcements, could it change the dynamic of that on the ground and make a push to Odessa and further down the coastline here on -- along the Black Sea much easier.

KEILAR: Ed, thank you so much. Incredible reporting. I should mention, I know that you were just about a mile and a half from that missile strike. That video was from your team. So, not that you need me to say it to you, but please be safe as you are there.

Thank you.

So, new this morning, the former U.S. Marine being held in Russia, Trevor Reed, he's been transferred to a medical facility. What we are learning about his condition.

Plus, President Zelenskyy made a surprise appears at the Grammys. What he said during his powerful and impassioned speech.

And a new inspirational song that played tribute to the Ukrainian people. We'll have it next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, a manhunt underway for multiple assailants after a deadly Sacramento shooting left six dead and a dozen injured. It happened immediately after a large fight broke out in the downtown area early Sunday. Police are asking for the public's help in tracking down those responsible.

CNN's Natasha Chen joins us now with the very latest.

Natasha, what are you learning?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, the police chief in Sacramento yesterday said they're going through at least 100 pieces of evidence including a recovered stolen handgun and looking at police surveillance footage of that intersection when the shots were fired at around 2:00 a.m. downtown Sacramento Sunday morning. She said that police nearby actually heard the shots along with first responders ran to the scene, offered medical aid, including CPR. But unfortunately, like you said, six people were killed, all adults, three men, three women, with 12 others injured and treated at area hospitals.

Now, you mentioned a fight broke out ahead of time. They're asking for the public to send any information and videos to police about that.

In the meantime, the mayor says this tragedy should not be met with just thoughts and prayers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR DARRELL STEINBERG (D), SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA: Thoughts and prayers are not enough. It's not enough. That's too easy. And it will be too easy to mourn for a week and then move on. We can't do that. In our city, we will take stock and we will do everything we can on the investment side, on the public safety side, on the gun side to protect the public.


CHEN: And part of seeking that justice is looking for these multiple shooters police say.

President Biden also offered his condolences and gave a statement, here it is, saying that he calls on Congress to ban ghost guns, require background checks for all gun sales, ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, repeal gun manufacturers' immunity from liability.

So, John, this is really emotional for the city of Sacramento, as well as across the nation, where gun violence is breaking out everywhere.

BERMAN: Emotional, still potentially dangerous with a manhunt underway for the assailants.

Natasha, thank you so much for that.

CHEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Former President Obama returning to the White House for the first time since leaving. We'll tell you why.

Plus, more on the breaking news. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy accusing the Russians of genocide. CNN on the ground at the site of some of the atrocities he is pointing to as evidence.



BERMAN: In a new documentary, award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns is turning his focus on the life and work of one of the most consequential figures in U.S. history, Benjamin Franklin. The documentary does cover the famous electricity experiment with a kite and Poor Richard's Almanac, and it also includes the more complicated side of this founding father.


WALTER ISAACSON, BIOGRAPHER: Franklin is, by far, the most approachable of our founders. He's not somebody made of stone like a George Washington. Franklin was pretty simple in his moral code. He was driven by a desire to put (ph) forth benefit for the common good.

But there's a lot in Benjamin Franklin that makes you flinch, and we see Franklin not as a perfect person, but somebody evolving to see if he could become more perfect. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Joining me now is award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, the director of -- and producer of the two-part documentary, "Benjamin Franklin," which airs tonight and tomorrow night on PBS at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. It also streams on and the PBS video app.

Ken, I look forward to your documentaries like normal people look forward to Marvel movies. So today is just like a huge day for me and it's thrilling to be able to talk to you.

Benjamin Franklin lived to, what, 84 years old. He's like a one-man human carnival, but also very complicated.

KEN BURNS, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: Very complicated. He's the most important American of the 18th century without a doubt. He's our best writer. He's our original humorist. He's the greatest scientist in the world, not just America.

He's not a revolutionary, John, until he's 69 years old. He's only got 15 years to go. But, my goodness, he helps edit the Declaration, making unbelievable improvements to Jefferson's beautiful document. He's dispatched to France because he's the only famous American in the world to secure their help. And, without him, without that help, there's no victory at Yorktown, no victory in the revolution. So, no Franklin, no us.


He comes back and helps forge the compromises, some of them tragic, of the Constitution that enabled the United States to get started. He himself, when he made some money, he retired and had employed enslaved people -- I guess not employed is not the right -- he had enslaved people in his household. And he also starts a school in Philadelphia for black kids and he finds out, oh, surprise, surprise, they're equal in their potentiality as white students.

And by the end of his life, he's joined an abolitionist society very early on in Pennsylvania and he proposes into the Congress of the United States his creation the first resolution against slavery. The Senate ignores it. The House doesn't pass it.

So, we try to tell stories, as you know, warts and all. And I'm so grateful for your time today and very excited for people to see it. He is the most accessible of our founding fathers because he's trying, like the more perfect union that we're trying to have, to get better. He's trying to see what his flaws are. He's examining it. He's constantly in motion.

You know he had only two years of schooling. So as the commentator says in the film, he didn't know what he didn't have to know. So he decided he had to know everything. So he's always looking at the natural world, always looking inside himself, always trying to be better.

And in a time of war, he is always trying to figure out compromises. You know, he's on the $100 bill. This is the largest bill in circulation. Everybody wants more Benjamins, right? But that's only half the equation. He -- he held all of his inventions without any patent. He could have been 100 times more wealthy than he was. But he poured everything back into kind of civic improvements. The University of Pennsylvania. The Free Library of Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute in Boston and in Philadelphia. All over the place we see his stamp of civic goodness. You can't disconnect individual achievement and desires from collective need.

He died in what became the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The word "commonwealth" we don't use very much, but it's a pretty good lesson on how to survive the partisanships of today.

BERMAN: The documentary, as you note, all about the Benjamin, you could say. That could be the alternate title of your documentary.

BURNS: Yes. Exactly.

BERMAN: You're nodding politely at the worst ad joke ever and I do appreciate that.

BURNS: No, no, no, John, it's -- you're absolutely right. I think that this is important to me.

BERMAN: I mean he evolved. We were talking about, he evolved until the very end. I mean this was a guy, the most famous American, who was still changing even when he was the most famous.

BURNS: That's exactly right. And that ought to be a lesson to us. You know the -- the two key words or phrases in the Declaration and the Constitution to me are about possibilities and potentiality. We are in pursuit of happiness. Happiness didn't mean the acquisition of objects in a marketplace of things, to all of our founders, not just Franklin, but to Jefferson and Washington and Adams and whatever. It was lifelong learning in a marketplace of ideas.

But it was -- the key word is pursuit. We are in the process of becoming. And Franklin was like that. And then in the poetic preamble to our operating manual, the Constitution, flawed as it was, amended, as we have tried to do on many occasion, it says to form a more perfect union. So that means we're always trying to get better.

And when I look at people saying, well, you can't teach that negative side of history, or you can't acknowledge this, or you can't say this word, you know, you're suddenly limiting a coach -- a coach's ability to make his football team better. Because if you can't say we suck today on defense or we can do better on special teams or we need to do this, what good are you?


BURNS: It means you're just stagnant and like all the other places in the world. And what happens from all the other places is wars happen. And right now we're looking at a tragic conflagration. And that's the history of the world.


BURNS: We interviewed a corporate in our Vietnam series. He said that war is the history of the world. But there are also other histories. And Franklin was trying to write a different path and trying to suggest different ways for human beings to conduct their business. And he feels modern. He feels like somebody you could go out and have a beer with.


BURNS: It's -- he's a wonderful person.

BERMAN: He is, of all the founding fathers, the one I think that would fit most in today's modern society as well.

And, Ken Burns, as you say, it's because of you that we have a much greater understanding of all kinds of history because you bring it into our homes so well and I really appreciate talking to you. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

BURNS: Oh, thank you, John, I appreciate that. Have a good one. Hope you enjoy it.

BERMAN: Much more on the breaking news. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy accusing the Russians of genocide. CNN on the ground on the scene of some of these atrocities.



BERMAN: All right, time for "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

An urgent search underway for multiple suspects after a mass shooting in Sacramento left six people dead and 12 others injured.

Today, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson faces a Senate committee vote on her Supreme Court nomination. The Judiciary Committee is expected to deadlock, but the Democrats will still have the power to advance her nomination to the full Senate.

Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine currently jailed in Russia, has been purportedly moved to a prison medical facility after going on a hunger strike.

Tiger Woods poised to make a comeback in Augusta. The five-time Masters champ has been practicing this week in Georgia. He said it will be a game time decision whether he plays. I would count on it.

North Carolina and Kansas tonight in the NCAA men's basketball finals. North Carolina there, after beating Duke and Coach Mike Krzyzewski last game.


Those are the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day." More on these stories all day on CNN and And don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning.

A busy day of breaking news. CNN on the ground in key locations. Our coverage continues right now.