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Texts about Overturning the Election. Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt is Interviewed about the War in Ukraine; U.S. Mortgage Rates Hit 5 Percent; Being Barry Manilow. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired April 15, 2022 - 08:30   ET



MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That this path and this path and this path. By the time you get to the beginning of January in 2021, you are days away from the electoral college vote being certified in favor of Joe Biden, and you have a vice president, Mike Pence, making clear he does not have the legal authority that Trump's allies were claiming he did. And those texts lay out very clearly there were others who were looking at that landscape and saying, this is just not real.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, not real, and potentially dangerous because Roy and Mike Lee, Abby, leading up to January 6th, telling Mark Meadows repeatedly, this is a really bad idea. This is really bad for the country. So, you know, Mark Meadows can't argue that no one warned him.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, I was struck by that too. That it's not just that they knew that there wasn't any evidence, but that they feared that this would pose a threat to American democracy itself. They understood that by pushing forward on these false claims, by pushing Mike Pence to try to decertify the election, even this attempt to kind of put forward these false electors, they were all attempts to undermine the country and the Constitution.

So, again, even that part of the scheme was known at the time to be -- to be what it was. And, you know, it highlights that the January 6th committee's work isn't just about the violence on January 6th. It's also about this scheme that was anti-democratic in nature, that is still present in the Republican Party's politics today.

BERMAN: Well, let's talk about the January 6th committee, because Miss Maggie Haberman, who's joining us right now, is part of an article in "The New York Times" this morning that talks about Stephen Miller testifying to the committee yesterday for hours and hours. And the committee, according to the reporting, kept on asking about the speech that the former president gave on January 6th, and the language he used. He kept on saying, we, we, we.

Let me play you a little bit of that speech.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We will not take it anymore. And that's what this is all about. And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal.


BERMAN: So, Maggie, what is it that you think the committee was after yesterday? What was the significance of that language?

HABERMAN: So, John, Stephen Miller was there for roughly eight hours and there were two very contentious points of discussion, and inquiry, and one was about the use of the word "we" in the draft of the speech -- or in the speech that President Trump, former President Trump delivered. You know, there is a gap between what the draft showed -- and they have the draft, they have stuff from the archives -- and what Trump actually said.

But the question that they seem to want to get at was, you know, is the word "we" intended as, you know, an incitement to the crowd to go ahead and march on the Capitol and then everything that followed after that. Miller's reply, according to multiple sources, you know, familiar with what too place was that "we" is a -- is a word that has been used in political discourse for decades, that it was used by President Kennedy in his moon landing speech and so forth.

I don't get the sense that the committee got a whole lot of out of Miller. He did invoke executive privilege about his conversations with the former president.

The other area, though, John, that was contentious in his testimony was questions about election fraud. And he kept pushing back on the committee officials saying, you know, there were -- there were pieces -- there were places where there was fraud. He's pointed to specific instance. To my knowledge, he did not offer any evidence that there was widespread fraud, but he certainly seemed to echo the former president's claim that things were stolen. Stephen Miller is still in Trump's orbit. That is not surprising to me. Anybody who is still in Trump's orbit is generally parroting what Trump is saying on this. But it was -- it was one of the more interesting pieces of testimony that we've heard now (ph).

BERMAN: It's interesting to me about when it's occurring too. I know they've been trying to get Miller in front of them for a long time, Abby, but this has got to be nearing the end of their questioning at this point, Abby.

HABERMAN: Yes, that's right.

BERMAN: So, what does it tell you that the committee really is asking a lot of questions about the former president himself here?

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, I think they are still very much interested in what President Trump, former President Trump, knew on that day, and in the days leading up to it, what his advisers were telling him, what the planning was around his activities on that day, around what he would say to his supporters. And, again, as we have been discussing in last few weeks, what he was doing in those windows of time in which the violence was escalating on Capitol Hill, and people were trying to reach him and get to him. People were trying to convince him to say things and yet he said very little and, in fact, said very little to call off his supporters.

So, at the core of this, really, is, what did the president know at the time, and why did he behave the way that he did given that so many people around him seem to understand the stakes of what was going on and why this was such a dangerous road for him to go down.

BERMAN: Fair to assume we could be hearing more from that committee sometime soon at this point.


Abby Phillip, Maggie Haberman, thank you so much for being with us on it (ph).

All right, the breaking news, Russian air strikes hit outside the Ukrainian capital, one day after Russia loses one of its most valuable warships in the Black Sea. It's now at the bottom of the Black Sea.

Plus, reports that Moscow sent a formal warning to the U.S. to stop arming Ukraine, threatening, quote, unpredictable consequences.


BERMAN: Breaking this morning, Russia says it has hit the outskirts of Kyiv with a cruise missile, striking what it describes as a military facility. This comes as fighting intensifies in the east and Ukraine braces for a major Russian offensive there.

Back with me, retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the former assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs under former President George W. Bush.

We're talking about the offensive, which everyone seems to think will happen any day now in the east.


BERMAN: Talk to me about the intelligence that is assessing when and how it will begin.

KIMMITT: Well, the one's always going to be a problem to know, but the how and where is what our intelligence platforms are pretty good at.

[08:40:06] We have overhead platforms, satellites that we can see troop movements. We've also got low level drones that can see. We're listening to their communications through SIGINT (ph), signals intelligent. And we've got people on the ground. They've got people on the ground that are no doubt watching these roads as they're moving down here, we think, toward Izium.

So, it will not come as a surprise where they are, and hopefully the Ukrainians will do something about that artillery minefield so on and so forth. But the when is a little bit harder to know.

BERMAN: Talk to me about the idea of this three-pronged attack. Here's a close-up look at Donbas, the east, we're looking at right now. What are the three prongs?

KIMMITT: Well, I think there are three options. There is, obviously, this notion of coming down here from Izium, trying to cut off the Ukrainian troops in here. They might try to go deeper, but that would be very difficult.

But in all these cases -- of course you know we've got the front lines here -- you will probably see some actions by the Russians here to -- what we call holding the nose of these troops that are down here so that these enveloping forces can come down, or even maybe send some up from Mariupol. But the whole notion of capturing, getting behind the lines, rather than going straight up, I think, is probably what we'll see.

BERMAN: I want to pull out again here, and we're talking about this region over here.

So what would the Ukrainians do to counter that?

KIMMITT: Well, the first thing I think what they need to do, and they're probably already hardening their lines down here, more minefields, more intelligence, moving up artillery, but I think the most important thing, John, will be to -- prior to the attack, this takes a huge amount of equipment, fuel, ammunition. They're going to be stockpiling that in locations near where they decide to do the attack.

Those are pretty lucrative targets. You'll see where the artillery is. You'll see where their supply depot is. You kind of want to take them out at the knees rather than try to fight them face to face.

BERMAN: General Mark Kimmitt, great having you here. Thank you so much for helping us understand this.

KIMMITT: Thank you. Sure.

BERMAN: New CNN reporting, a U.S. congressman directly targeted by Russians as part of an orchestrated disinformation campaign. We have these fascinating details ahead.

Plus, in the latest setback for home buyers, mortgage rates hit the highest level in more than a decade. Stay with us.



BERMAN: A real challenge for perspective home buyers. To go along with high prices and low inventory, mortgage rates just hit 5 percent.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans here with that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, 5 percent. We haven't seen this kind of a number in a decade. Home buyers and refinancers, lock it no now, folks. Mortgage rates, the highest level in more than a decade, 5 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, up from 4.72 percent just last week. That's spiking 2 percentage points in just the past few months. We haven't seen rates like this and moving like this in a long, long time.

Look, the housing market is hot. There just are not enough homes for sale to meet the demand, sparking these bidding wars and sending home prices to record highs.

So, now you have these rising mortgage rates on top of this. It's keeping home ownership out of reach for many Americans, particularly first time home buyers.

OK, imagine a $350,000 home purchased just a year ago at 3 percent. That same monthly mortgage payment will be more than $300 more expensive today. That's about $3,600 extra a year for the very same house, very same mortgage.

Fair warning, mortgage rates are only going to go higher from here. Interest rates, of course, affect borrowing costs. They're on the rise. The Federal Reserve has already hiked rates in March and confirmed last week that it will raise rates in an aggressive fashion going from here.

This is how you get rid of inflation, you start jacking up interest rates. So people who are concerned about inflation, now it's going to cost more to borrow money.

BERMAN: Real money.

All right, Christine Romans, thank you very much.

All right, our breaking news coverage on the ground in Ukraine as Russia strikes the outskirts of Kyiv overnight. The latest from the battlefront.

Plus --


BARRY MANILOW, MUSICIAN (singing): I write the songs that make the whole world sing. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: The story behind the man who writes the songs. Dana Bash sits down with Barry Manilow for her special "Being Barry Manilow."



BERMAN: The Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced more than 4 million people to leave that country, creating the world's fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II. But this week's CNN Hero is doing all she can to help. Teresa Gray, a paramedic and nurse from Alaska, has sent medical teams to natural and humanitarian disasters for the past six years. Recently, she and her fellow volunteers travelled to Romania, where they provided care and comfort to hundreds of Ukrainians in need.


TERESA GRAY, CNN HERO: What we were expecting to see was large groups of people housed in tent cities. And actually they are housing these refugees in individual dorm rooms. They've got food. They've got shelter. But the trauma is the same.

They've lost almost everything.

This is filled with women, children and elderly. There is a flu outbreak currently that obviously affects the children. We also have pre-existing conditions.

It isn't just about fixing the broken arm or giving you medicine, it's making that human connection. Sometimes you need to hold their hand and walk them down a hallway and listen to them.

We try to meet the needs of whatever presents to us. Human suffering has no borders. People are people and love is love.


BERMAN: To see Theresa's organization in action, go to And while you're there, nominate someone you know to be a CNN Hero.

Now we have a story, 25 years in the making. Tomorrow night, CNN anchor and chief political correspondent Dana Bash sits down with Barry Manilow for "Being Barry Manilow." They discuss his career, his music and his new musical "Harmony," which he created with long-time collaborator Bruce Sussman. It is a true story set in Nazi, Germany, but it has relevance right now that is unmistakable.

Here's a preview.


BRUCE SUSSMAN: These six, brilliantly talented young men not only found musical harmony but they found personal harmony. [08:55:03]

Even in their relationships, a Jewish fellow marries a gentile woman. A gentile member of the group marries a Jewish woman. It was harmonious in every way, standing in stark contrast to what was happening in the world around them.

BARRY MANILOW: We don't know them in America, but they were so famous that the stories even we had heard, because what happened to them, they just disappeared. All their records were --

SUSSMAN: Destroyed.

MANILOW: Destroyed. All their movies, 12 movies, were burned. They just annihilated them after being so tremendously popular around the world.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: "Harmony's" relevance now is chilling with war raging in Ukraine, innocent lives disrupted by hate.

BASH (on camera): Doing this musical now, with everything going on, not just in the world, but with anti-Semitism on the rise.

SUSSMAN: Unprecedented new levels of anti-Semitism, yes.


SUSSMAN: I think one of the many joys about doing this show now is that it seems to be resonating more than ever.


SUSSMAN: And that's remarkable that after everything we've been through that it's landing at this time.

MANILOW: But it sounds very current.

SUSSMAN: But it sounds very current.


BERMAN: Joining us now is the host of CNN's "Being" series, Dana Bash. And, Dana, I feel like you made this special just for me. So, thank you.


BERMAN: Thank you very much for this.

Listen, I mean, Barry Manilow says this feels very current. This show he's doing feels very current. I mean, sadly current.

BASH: Sadly current. You know, I was able to see the show. It is currently in New York. It -- the premiere was this week. And there's this -- I mean there are lots of moments where you're watching and you -- you have -- feel all the feels, but it feels -- you can -- it connects to today.

There was a character named Rabbi (ph), one of the six harmonists, and he just plaintively belts out the question, why, why. And as he's doing it, as that character is doing it, you can feel in the audience, John, not just transporting back to Nazi, Germany, but also what is happening right now, why, why does such evil take hold, especially given the fact that it is just wanton power that was happening back then, and is happening in Ukraine right now.

BERMAN: Now, the show just opened on Broadway. Sadly, Barry Manilow couldn't be there for the opening because -- because he's sick again.


BERMAN: How is he doing?

BASH: He's doing well. He's doing well. He feels OK. He was devastated. He put out a statement, devastated that he couldn't be there. But he has been there every step of the way. He, with his writing partners, Bruce Sussman, he's been there for the previews. He was -- as you saw in that clip, he was there for rehearsals. And that is one thing I learned about our musical hero, John, Barry Manilow, is that he does not rest on his laurels. Whether it was this musical or his show, which is record-breaking in Las Vegas, he is there every single day, working on the lighting, working on the choreography, working on the arrangements still of the music that, in this case, in the case of the musical, he began to write 25 years ago. The pop songs, of course, he wrote five decades ago.

BERMAN: You know, it's so interesting, what I -- what I take from some of the clips I've seen of your show also it he talks about -- it hasn't always been easy to be Barry Manilow. And I used to carry -- honestly, this is true -- I used to carry a quote from Barry Manilow in my wallet, because he did an interview in the early '90s, and the exact quote was, no one was more surprised than me to find out I wasn't hip. Basically, it was Barry Manilow admitting that when people told him that there were those who didn't think he was, you know, legitimately talented and a star that somehow he was corny, he was surprised that people felt that way at one point. And to me it just was sort of a life lesson, like, you know, live your life, don't care what people say.

BASH: I didn't know that about you. That's fascinating that you had that quote in your wallet. And it is one of the themes throughout our discussions, which is, I'm just a regular guy, he said that to me, because, you know, I said, what's it like to be as famous as you are. And he said to me at one point, am I famous? And I said, yes, yes, you're kind of famous.

But on the -- on the note of the critics way back when, they were very tough on him. And he said that, you know, you can say, I don't read the reviews, but he did. And it took a while to get over it. And it certainly helped that the critics came along. They came long to where his fans were, to where the public was, that they understood and understand who he is. And I will just say about this show "Harmony," even though he's had

all of this success, this is, he said, his proudest achievement. And, John, when you go see this show, you will understand why.


BERMAN: Dana Bash, thank you very much for this.

"Being Barry Manilow" airs this Saturday at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and 8:00 p.m. Pacific on CNN. Watch or set your DVR.

Dana, thank you very much. Really appreciate it.

And CNN's coverage continues right now.