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New Day

Russia is Shifting its Assault; Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) is interviewed about Jackson's Confirmation; Rex Chapman is Interviewed about NCAA and his New Show. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 05, 2022 - 08:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, the latest from Ukraine.

Reports that Russia is focusing on taking control, trying to, of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. This area in the eastern part of the country. And they want to do it by next month.

Joining me now, General Wesley Clark, CNN military analyst, former NATO supreme allied commander.

As we talk about the battle that will very much get heated in the coming days in the Donbas region, Matthew Miller of the NSC just said something to Brianna and your ears perked up. He talked about the U.S. efforts to help the Ukrainians repel the Russians here in the east, not eject. Repel. He didn't use the word eject. Why did your ears perk up there?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I perked up because what's the objective of the campaign at this point? At first we thought this is going to be over in three days, we'll give the Ukrainians some weapons that way, you know, they could try to defend themselves and maybe it will turn into an Afghanistan and bog the Russians down. But the Ukrainians are fighting back. They're actually beating the Russians man for man on the battlefield.

So, what's -- what's the policy? Where are we going? Are we going to try to reward Putin for aggression by giving him the legal control of this through negotiations and maybe all of this? Or are we going to say to the Ukrainians, here's what you need, go get him. And let them have all of the things they're asking for. Right now we're not. They need 500 tanks, couple thousand tubes of artillery and rockets, they need hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition. Our -- where's our former Warsaw Pact, now NATO allies, Poland,

Romania, Slovakia? They have that. We haven't actually told them to release it yet. We've got to get that moving if we're going to break this system right here.

Vladimir Putin is a disruptive agent in world history. We don't want him rewarded for having started a war and committed all these crimes. We don't want to now say, OK, well, you keep what you got, and let's be nice from now on.


He's not going to be nice from now on. So, we need to rethink our policy. Where is this going? What's the objective?

BERMAN: So, if this war is now set in eastern Ukraine, in the Donbas, with the Russians trying to take it, maybe encircle the Ukrainians, how do the Ukrainians fight back here?

CLARK: So, the Ukrainians have got to go now into mobile armored warfare. They need air cover for us to do this. So we need to get those MiGs into them and the sukoiz (ph) so they can protect their forces.

But they need tanks. They need self-propelled artillery. And they need thousands of rounds of ammunition. So, when the Russians come down to try to encircle the Ukrainian -- the Ukrainian forces are here, the Russians want to come up this way, seize the crossing, out this way, create a pocket and then annihilate the forces that are in there. We've got to give the Ukrainians the ability to fight back. They've got to block the Russians here, block here, go back this way, retake this ground. This is major maneuver warfare. Right now the javelins don't do it.

BERMAN: This is not the -- this is not the guerrilla warfare? This is not the insurgent warfare we've seen in other places?

CLARK: Absolutely not. You're not going to have these -- these villages that we're seeing around Kyiv, there's not these kinds of villages, wide open territory. This is where tank armies moved in World War II. They can still move. You've got places out here where you can see 4,000, 5,000, 7,000 meters across totally open ground. There's no place for a javelin launcher to hide in that. I mean this is for tanks and helicopters and mobile warfare and lots of artillery.

BERMAN: The supply will be key.

General Wesley Clark, thank you for coming in and helping us understand this.

CLARK: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Russia claims the Ukrainians faked the video showing bodies in the street in Bucha. We saw the video. We saw the bodies with our own eyes. Satellite images also prove that they've been there for weeks. Plus, back in the United States, two more Republican senators say they

will vote for President Biden's Supreme Court nominee. One of them attacking her own party.



BERMAN: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is expected to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice this week, which will make her the first African American woman to serve on the country's highest court. In the Senate, three Republicans now, Susan Collins and now Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski joined all 50 Democrats in a procedural vote to advance the nomination after it initially stalled in a partisan deadlocked Judiciary Committee.

Joining me now is Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. He is on the Judiciary Committee.

Senator Coons, thank you so much for being with us.

Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski, two more Republicans joining the Democrats to vote to confirm or will vote to confirm Judge Brown Jackson. Now, what's your reaction to that?

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Well, John, great to be on with you again.

I think the American people, as this week unfolds, as the hearings unfolded last week, have come to realize that not only is Judge Jackson an historic pick, she is an exceptionally qualified pick. She's someone who showed her judicial temperament, during aggressive, at times I think harassing, questioning last week. And those who have taken the time to read into her record, to understand what she will bring to the court, recognize that her long career as a lawyer, as a judge, the 570 opinions she's written, and the balanced and measured way in which she handled herself through the confirmation process demonstrates that she will be a great contributor as a Supreme Court justice and I very much look forward to her confirmation later this week.

BERMAN: I have to ask, if the -- if the standard is judicial qualifications, and experience on the bench, you did not vote to confirm Justice Gorsuch, for instance.

COONS: That's right. That's right. In the case of Justice Gorsuch, as you may remember, John, my questioning really focused in on two landmark decisions that he wrote and ways in which I thought his judicial philosophy, his approach to decision-making, his ideas on church/state, on the status of corporations was well outside the mainstream.

There are some colleagues of mine on the committee who dug into her record, who pressed her on questions and wanted to get to know her judicial methodology. There's others who, frankly, I thought, were just grandstanding for the TV cameras. My hope is that we can get back to confirmation hearings like the confirmation for Justice Gorsuch, where we are principally focused on the judicial philosophy, the experience, the character, the insights of the person in front of us.

I did reject Justice Gorsuch because of his judicial writings and his philosophy. And I think some of his decisions since then have demonstrated my concerns.

BERMAN: But -- so you do think Republicans opposing Judge Brown Jackson on those grounds, that's a legitimate concern?

COONS: Look, over the last decade what we are looking at considering in judicial confirmations has moved from merely advice and consent based on judicial experience and qualifications, into for the Supreme Court judicial philosophy where we think they will take the country, the court, and our understanding of the Constitution.

And while I think it's regrettable that we've moved into more and more politicized confirmations, I think it's appropriate that we look hard at what kind of an approach to judging a nominee will bring to the court.

BERMAN: Senator Coons, there's an agreement to pass this, this Covid relief bill. A lot of money here. And I know you're going to vote to -- in support of it, but you're very disappointed as well. Why?

COONS: John, I'm very upset that we are failing to provide critically needed funding for vaccinations and therapeutics. There's three quick reasons. First, there's 2.8 billion people out in the world who haven't yet benefited from a vaccine against this pandemic.


And I know we are all tired. We are all ready to be done with this pandemic. But it's not ready to be done with us. And the best way to protect the American people from the emergence of the next variant is to make sure that the vaccines that we now have available in abundant supply are provided to the developing world where I will remind you the last two variants, delta and omicron, emerged from.

It's also a great chance for us to show dozens of countries around the world that relied on Chinese and Russian vaccines that are not working, that we can be a better public health partner.

And, frankly, last, John, it's a long tradition of the American people that when we can save lives in the developing world at low cost to us, we do. So, while I will support this package that's urgently needed for the American people to have therapeutics and vaccines, I really think this was a hugely missed opportunity and we will have to come back and spend even more if there is another variant that emerges. Frankly, public health officials, John, are saying to me, it's not if, but when.

BERMAN: Senator Chris Coons, I appreciate you being with us this morning. Thanks very much.

COONS: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: This morning, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy set to address the United Nations Security Council -- Russia sits on that as a permanent member -- as he warns that atrocities taking place in cities other than Bucha may be even worse than the ones we have seen there. We will bring that speech to you live.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The game is over and Kansas completes the biggest championship comeback!


BERMAN: I mean, this was beyond a comeback. History made. The Kansas Jayhawks, the new NCAA men's champion. Rex Chapman joins us live.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Around on Manic. And here we go. Manic circling around. He slipped underneath. They go to Love. Love's going to be the one to take it. Puts up the shot. It's off! The game is over! And Kansas completes the biggest championship comeback!


BERMAN: I mean this was history. A comeback for the ages. The Kansas Jayhawks, they beat North Carolina 72-69 in last night's men's NCAA final. Kansas trailed by 16 points in the first half and was down 15 at halftime. According to the NCAA, the 16-point comeback is the largest in title game history.

Joining me now, former NBA player and University of Kentucky superstar Rex Chapman. He has a new show on CNN Plus called "Rex Chapman." It's a great name, by the way.


BERMAN: So just very quickly, the game last night.

CHAPMAN: Oh, my gosh. I had written off Kansas at halftime pretty much. Plus, I don't like Kansas that much. They've now -- they've supplanted Kentucky, my school, as the all-time winningest program and then they win the title last night. So I'm kind of licking my wounds today.

BERMAN: Though you respect it no doubt.

CHAPMAN: No doubt. What a game. Hubert Davis, terrific job with Carolina in his first year at the helm. Bill elf, Hall of Famer, what a win.

BERMAN: All right, I want to talk about your show, which looks just amazing. And people -- people know you as a basketball star, in college and in the pros, but also because your Twitter account, which is just so wonderfully positive. Like relentlessly sunny, right? And so I love the fact that your first guest is Jason Sudeikis from "Ted Lasso," which is a relentlessly sunny show.

CHAPMAN: Me too.

BERMAN: Let me just play a little clip of our chat with him when you throw shade on him.


JASON SUDEIKIS, ACTOR: I've got something for you.


SUDEIKIS: I've got some t-shirts for the kids.

CHAPMAN: Oh, snap.

SUDEIKIS: Some Kentucky t-shirts.

CHAPMAN: Oh, Lord.

SUDEIKIS: And I know you're not -- you're --

CHAPMAN: I mean, come on, man.

SUDEIKIS: But this is only because we beat the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of you guys like a few months ago.

CHAPMAN: Come on.

SUDEIKIS: Where am I going to -- I don't even have a car to use to wash -- you know, to use these to wash it with.

CHAPMAN: And I just wanted to welcome you to the wildcat family today.

SUDEIKIS: This is -- this going to -- my kids are going to hate these, Rex.

CHAPMAN: I wanted to welcome you to the wildcat family, buddy.

SUDEIKIS: Is that -- that's not how you spell Kansas.

CHAPMAN: Nope. Nope. Nope.

SUDEIKIS: I would have played here had they asked.

CHAPMAN: Would you?

SUDEIKIS: Had they asked. Had they asked. I don't think it fits.

CHAPMAN: And then, I don't know if you knew this -- I don't know if you knew this, but Ted Lasso --


CHAPMAN: Played -- of course he played sports as a kid, you know.


CHAPMAN: And he also wore number 30. He did.

SUDEIKIS: Oh, yes. OK. Home and away.

CHAPMAN: Yes. Yes, yes, home and away jersey.

SUDEIKIS: Here we go. That's good. That's good.

CHAPMAN: Yes. Yes.

SUDEIKIS: This is -- this is perfect.


SUDEIKIS: This is -- I mean, literally, I could not want anything less than this. I mean this is -- this is absolute --

CHAPMAN: You are welcome.

SUDEIKIS: You might as well have handed it to me in a garbage can.

CHAPMAN: You're welcome. You're welcome.


BERMAN: Jason Sudeikis is a huge Kansas fan. That's hilarious.

But talk to me about why, why positive, why the aggressive positivity works?

CHAPMAN: Well, you know, I don't know. I really don't. I know that over the last couple of years, what a scary time the whole world's been in with this pandemic. Social media can be such a toxic place at times. I'm not the most naturally positive, uplifting guy all the time. My friends would happily tell you that. So I'm just trying to put a little positivity out there. And, you know, if you can take your mind off somebody -- take your mind off something for a minute, you know, that might make you -- make you feel a little different, change your mood, then why not?

BERMAN: I mean you're more than a little positive. It's a lot positive. Do you think your own personal struggles have made it more important to you? Or how do you think that has pushed you to this?

CHAPMAN: You know, when I finished playing basketball, painkiller addiction for 14, 15 years. And I think I had just kind of resigned myself to the fact that that was going to be my lot in life. Fortunately, I got clean about eight years ago, seven, eight years ago now, through the help of family, friends. I lived on people's couches for a couple of years.

So, yes, I'm just trying to do things a little bit differently. Fame and success didn't suit me very well the last time around. [08:55:03]

So I'm going to try to do a little better this time.

BERMAN: So, in 20 seconds or less, what's the show going to be like?

CHAPMAN: Just conversations. Conversations. Sitting down, much like I did with Jason, sitting down, having conversations, real conversations with everyone from entertainers, to sports people, to everyday heroes. I'm so fired up about it. I can't believe they're paying me to do this.

BERMAN: Well, it's great to have you on board.

CHAPMAN: I'm good -- I'm so happy to be on this team.

BERMAN: Big fan. Our executive producer, as I said, was the first Charlotte's (INAUDIBLE) fan of all time and you were first Hornets draft pick. So, thank you for being here. Welcome to the team.

His new show "Rex Chapman" is available now on CNN Plus and new episodes stream every day. The blue glass is part of every episode?

CHAPMAN: Part of every -- for now it is, anyway.

BERMAN: Until the second season. Maybe you'll branch out.

CHAPMAN: That's right.

BERMAN: Excellent.

All right, a lot going on in Ukraine this morning. We're getting new details about why the United States tested a hypersonic missile last month but kept that a secret.

We're also waiting to hear live from the Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, addressing the U.N. Security Council, a council where Russia sits as a permanent member.

Our live, breaking news coverage continues after this.