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Ivanka Trump Meets with January 6th Panel; Igor Kolykhaev is Interviewed about Kherson; Tiger to Play in Masters; Governors Rush to Ease Gas Prices. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 06, 2022 - 06:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, eight hours is a long conversation. CNN has learned that Ivanka Trump met with the January 6th committee for close to eight hours Tuesday. This comes after her husband and former senior adviser to President Trump, Jared Kushner, spoke to the committee last week. Neither was subpoenaed. Both attended, we are told, voluntarily.

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

Maggie, great to see you.

I couldn't talk to anyone for eight hours, mostly because they'd get sick of me, but eight hours is a long time. And you note significant here because unlike a lot of the people the committee has talked to, Ivanka Trump, in theory, knows a lot about some key moments.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right, John. She certainly knows a -- I don't know how much she knows about the lead-up to January 6th. There were a lot of people who were described as not really being around as former President Trump was sort of thrashing around in the wake of the election. But she certainly was present on January 6th both for at least portions of his phone call with Mike Pence that morning. And she was asked by other aids to come down to the Oval Office to try to intervene with her father to get him to say something as the rioters were swarming the Capitol.

So, she will be able to speak, John, not just to his state of mind, which is obviously important, to the things he was saying, which would be important, but exactly those key moments in this timeline that the committee has been trying to put together. Again, in the leadup to that day as well but certainly of that day she can fill in certain key gaps because there were very few people who were actually around him. There are a number of people who have claimed they were. She actually was.

BERMAN: Maggie, I would never ask to put you in Ivanka Trump's mind, but what do we know, what's the reporting on her view on that day?

HABERMAN: I -- my understanding is from everyone I've talked to is that she thinks that that day was pretty terrible. The question is whether she's going to, you know, lay blame to some extent at the feet of her father or whether she said things that were going to implicate other people, such as the people who were in his ear in the leadup to January 6th.

One of the things, John, that we've seen happen over and over with people around former President Trump as they often try to come up with a rationalization for why things he's doing were actually other people's fault, or staff's fault, or this one's fault or that one's fault. You know, that day was very much, at least in terms of the portion about what the sitting president was doing while this was happening and the fact that we know that he was getting calls from people saying you have to do something to try to stop this. She can speak to what he was saying and what he wasn't saying and what he was doing and what he wasn't doing. But whether she's going to suggest that, you know, he has culpability here, I think that -- that goes beyond what I know and it will be interested to see what the committee says.

BERMAN: I think we'll all be interested to see what the committee says.

Her position or her placement in that day, in that sequence, different a little bit than her husband Jared Kushner's.


BERMAN: How so?

HABERMAN: That's right. Her husband was -- her husband was not there. Her husband arrived -- at least he wasn't there during the bulk of the day. He was traveling back from the Mid-East where he had been dealing with the blockade of Qatar and its end.


And he arrived, I think, just as the riot was happening. He went to the White House shortly after that. She, however, was there from the very beginning. And she was also, John, at the rally. She went and was in that tent behind the scenes. So she has a different vantage point.

Kushner, however, was there for key moments when Trump was being told that Trump was likely not going to be able to undo the results of the election right after it had been called. So, he can speak to state of mind in certain ways while he just can't speak to the events of that day in the same way.

BERMAN: So, Maggie, there was a little social media burst of excitement because the former president, in an interview with Professor Julian Salazar (ph), or at least talking to him, was discussing conversations he had with the former South Korean leader, and seemed to say something which caught people's attention. I want to listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I said to him, you've got to pay $5 billion. He said, no, no, no. We had a deal. He was going to pay $5 billion. $5 billion a year. But when I didn't win the election, he had to be the happiest.


BERMAN: When I didn't win the election, Maggie. He said those words, I didn't win. Significant?

HABERMAN: No. He's said some version of that before, John. He has said some version of, I lost the election. And then other times he will then say it was rigged, it was stolen from me. I don't think that it's an admission of mind-set. I mean it's -- it's -- he's very hard to pin down on these things, as you know. He certainly is, I think, aware enough to know that he's not currently sitting in the Oval Office, right? So, I think it speaks to that. But I don't think that it's the -- quite the gotcha that it was being portrayed because he'll just say something else and say he didn't really mean that. So.

BERMAN: So. Exactly.

Maggie Haberman, great to see you this morning. Thanks so much for being here.

HABERMAN: You too.

BERMAN: Former President Barack Obama returned to the White House for the first time since leaving office more than five years ago, paying a visit to celebrate his signature health care law. And he took a chance to jab at his former number two.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Vice President Biden, vice president -- that was a joke.


BERMAN: So, the history of presidents making their first returns to the White House, pretty interesting. Of course, Obama didn't visit Donald Trump in the White House, nor did Trump -- or has Trump visited President Biden.

The first time Bush 43 went back, nearly a year to the day after leaving office. He sat in the Oval with then President Obama for a briefing on the earthquake in Haiti. You can see Bill Clinton there as well.

In June of 2004, Bill Clinton returned for the unveiling of the customary presidential portrait.

In September of 1993, Bush 41 returned for the agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Jimmy Carter you can see also there.

A year after his second term ended, Ronald Reagan was greeted with a warm reception during the unveiling of his official presidential portrait.

Jimmy Carter made his first return nearly eight years after leaving in September of 1989. He briefed then President Bush on his trip to Central America.

In the spring of 1978, Gerald Ford made his return and was welcomed with warm words from President Carter. The two of them were actually always close.

After his resignation, Richard Nixon returned five years later in 1979, invited by Carter to attend a dinner with Chinese officials. Nixon's visit to China earlier that decade, of course, broke a longstanding chill between the two nations.

On the subject of Nixon, Lyndon Johnson returned to the White House on December 11, 1969, for a breakfast with Richard Nixon.

Dwight Eisenhower, who had a chilly relationship with Harry Truman, didn't go back at all during the Truman administration, but he did go back in June of 1961 for a short conference with John F. Kennedy.

In years after his presidency, Harry Truman, he went back to the White House on January 20, 1961, where he met with President Kennedy there after skipping the entire Eisenhower administration.

A little history lesson there for you at 6:38 a.m.

So, more than a hundred Ukrainians have been abducted from the city of Kherson. And the mayor says he believes they were taken for future prisoner of war exchanges. That mayor is pleading for the world not to give up on his city, next.



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: As the world reels from the disturbing images of atrocities from Bucha and Irpin, the mayor of Russian occupied Kherson says many people have been abducted from his city by Russian forces and he is pleading with the world not to forget about Kherson, which was one of the earliest cities to fall into Russian hands.

Earlier today, I spoke to the mayor, Igor Kolykhaev.


KEILAR: Mayor, thank you so much for joining us.

We've heard from the Ukrainian armed forces, they saying that they have liberated some villages near Kherson. Can you tell us about that?

MAYOR IGOR KOLYKHAEV, KHERSON, UKRAINE (through translator): There are a few villages that have been freed, but and -- and those evidence of (INAUDIBLE) but unfortunately there is still a number of villages that are being occupied by the Russian occupiers and mainly we are talking about the (INAUDIBLE) district.

KEILAR: We've obviously heard of atrocities in other parts of Ukraine, in Kyiv, outside of Mykolaiv. What are you hearing from people in and around Kherson?

KOLYKHAEV: Well, what I would like to say about Kherson is that what we mostly notice and the incidents that we record, they're mostly related to kidnapping. Kidnapping of volunteers and various people with strong political and active position as well as kidnapping of soldiers.


Everyone who was in this or other capacity engaged in the territorial defense or maybe anti-terrorist operation.

KEILAR: You mentioned kidnapping. In other areas, Russian forces have gone door to door and they have also reportedly tortured Ukrainians.

Have you heard anything about that?

KOLYKHAEV: I know for sure that people who have been kidnapped and then later on they are released maybe one or two days later and some have been released three weeks later, they surely have physical injuries and marks of physical manhandling. And -- but I don't have any records of torturing at the moment.

KEILAR: Mayor, having seen some of these successes in some villages, do you think there's a possibility Ukrainian forces can retake Kherson?

KOLYKHAEV: It's important to understand that every single person living in Kherson and in the Kherson region cannot wait until the entire region will be freed. But as far as I understand, as of now, this is surely not an easy task. And, obviously, given the recent news that people have seen the news that have come from the towns in Kyiv region and also in Chernihiv (ph) and I'm talking obviously about in Bucha, in Kasamil (ph) and other towns, I can see that there is panic growing in the city of Kherson. And we've noticed that yesterday and the day before yesterday, people have been increasingly trying to leave Kherson and Kherson region, taking their children and leaving, obviously. Mostly women are trying to leave. So there is this growing panic.

And, at the same time, I would like to emphasize that my team, that is the city administration and I myself, we are here. We are working. The Ukrainian flag is up. And we are fulfilling all of our duties and responsibilities.

KEILAR: Mayor, are they panicking because of the shift of Russian forces to the east? Are they fearing that things are about to get worse?

KOLYKHAEV: Well, the panic is mostly caused by the threat of bombardment. People are worried that their city might be bombarded. And, like I've mentioned, the last three days we have seen the -- we've noticed that people had been leaving in scores. And that's why I've already spoke -- already spoken to a U.N. representative and I'll be writing a letter shortly just right after this asking them to provide the green corridor to facilitate evacuation, safe evacuation of everyone who would like to leave the city.

KEILAR: It sounds like you need a humanitarian corridor. What else do you need, mayor?

KOLYKHAEV: Well, most of all what we need is pharmaceuticals, medicine, medical supplies. It's important to understand that all the pharmacies in the city have already been -- being depleted in their stock. There is zero stock left. And, obviously, having this threat of the Russian troops moving east. We understand that hospitals need to be stocked up in -- especially with tourniquets and all kinds of medical supplies to treat wounded.

KEILAR: Mayor, can you tell us what it is like right now when people are trying to leave? Tell us about why this humanitarian corridor is needed and the challenges that people are facing leaving Kherson.

KOLYKHAEV: Well, what I see is that -- OK, just a bit of -- just to give you a better picture of this is that the curfew in the city of Kherson is from 8:00 p.m. up until 7:00 a.m. But I see that people start packing around 4:00, 4:30 a.m. And you can already see long queues of people and vehicles at the block post in the direction of Mykolaiv via the town of Bashtanka (ph) and people are leaving the Kherson region in general. But mostly we're talking about the town of Novakahoch (ph) and all the other settlements along the left bank of the Dnipro River.


And I also see that there are some people moving in the direction of the annexed Crimea.

KEILAR: Mayor Kolykhaev, thank you so much for speaking with us this morning. We are thinking of you. We are thinking of the people of your city. And we appreciate your time.

KOLYKHAEV: Thank you.


KEILAR: Just in, we're getting word of major fighting that is underway in eastern Ukraine as Russian forces intensify their efforts on that part of the country. CNN is on the ground there.

Also, the trauma of just seeing the brutal injuries at this Ukrainian hospital was so bad that dozens of medical personnel resigned just days after the invasion began. CNN's Ivan Watson takes us inside that hospital next.



BERMAN: Tiger Woods says he is planning to play at this year's Masters, just 14 months after being seriously hurt in a car crash.

Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report," live from Augusta National.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Tiger is back, John. To think that he suffered open fractures on his right leg, saying he wasn't sure he'd be able to walk again after wrecking his car last February near L.A., and now that he's going to play in the biggest stage of them all, it's unfathomable. But after enduring months of intense rehab, the golf legend says that he is ready to hit the Masters stage once again.

Here he is.


TIGER WOODS, FIVE-TIME MASTERS CHAMPION: As of right now, I feel like I am going to play. As of right now.

The fact that I was able to get myself here to this point is a success. And now that I am playing, now everything is focused on, how do I get myself into a position where I'm on that back nine on Sunday with a chance, just like I did, you know, a few years ago.


WIRE: Now, Tiger was here on the grounds practicing for a third straight day yesterday. And he says he wants to play nine holes later today for final preps. Tiger seems to thrive off of adversity, John. He's a five-time Masters champ, winning his last one in 2019 after recovering from multiple knee and back surgeries. Some have doubted his ability to come back before, but here he is ready to do it again. Tiger's set to tee off his opening round tomorrow morning at 10:34 Eastern alongside Louis Oosthuizen and Joaquin Niemann.

Now, last night Tiger got to feast at the annual champion's dinner. It was the traditional starter here at Augusta National back in 1952. It was Hideki Matsuyama's turn this year. And as Japan's first Masters' champ, he honored his heritage with a taste of Japan. The players say he crushed it, John. Appetizers were sushi, sashimi, Yakitori chicken skewers. Main course, Miso-glazed black cod and grade A5 wagyu beef ribeye's. One of the most revered cuts of steak on the planet. Talk of more marbling than the Taj Mahal. Dessert, Japanese strawberry shortcake. Ain't that sweet.

John, it's sweet to have Tiger Woods back here ready to compete.

BERMAN: Last year's winner gets to pick this year's menu. Tiger Woods, looking to make history. Even by walking on the course he makes history this week.

Coy, thank you very much.

Gas prices have steadied but still remain high nationwide. Now governors across the U.S., in the midst of an election year, are scrambling for ways to help reduce the pain at the pump.

CNN's Eva McKend with the story.


EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Across the country, governors from both parties scrambling to address the skyrocketing cost of gas amid record inflation.

ROLVIN LENTSCH, DRIVER: Social Security payments aren't going up like my gas and fuel prices are.

MCKEND: States flush with cash from solid economic growth and federal Covid relief funds flowing to them, fueling tax revenues that have left many states with big surpluses. In California, where gas prices are the highest in the nation, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom facing re-election this year, proposing $11 billion in relief by way of $400 debit cards and free rides on public transit.

In Maryland, Republican Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation enacting a 30-day suspension of the state's gas tax and has said he supports extending it to 90 days.

In Georgia, Republican Governor Brian Kemp signing an income tax refund bill into law. More than a billion dollars in refunds to eligible Georgians in the coming weeks.

That's relief for one Georgia driver.

SHARI THWAITES, DRIVER: I was one of the people that was out of work for 15 months. I work in hospitality. So, I just got back to work in January. So, you know, every -- every little bit helps.

MCKEND: But Governor Kemp's Trump-backed Republican challenger, David Perdue, calls the refund an election year giveaway, a desperate attempt to get votes.

Kemp's 2018 opponent and likely Democratic nominee in this year's race, Stacey Abrams, argues states are generally doing so well because of additional funds that were sent to them by the federal government.

STACEY ABRAMS (D), CANDIDATE FOR GEORGIA GOVERNOR: I want us to remember, it's not who put their name on the card, it's who bought the gift. And while there might be a k name on the card, it's Biden and Warnock who got the money here.

GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): And I hear wherever I go, what can you do to help? We tried to do something.

MCKEND: In Connecticut, Democratic Governor Ned Lamont, who is also up for re-election this year, says the bipartisan legislation he signed into law to halt the gas tax for three months and suspend bus fares will make a difference.

LAMONT: If you're a single mom, it costs you $3 each way to go get groceries. Make life a little more affordable for you as well. MCKEND: University of New Haven Political Science Professor Chris

Haynes says for Democrats who are already facing a tough midterm environment, these mitigation strategies may not do much to change their electoral prospects.


CHRIS HAYNES, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAVEN: What Americans care about in terms of elections are broader perceptions of the economy.