Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

From Parties To Malls, Another Violent Weekend In America; Zelenskyy: World Should Prepare For Putin To Use Nuclear Weapons; CNN's Richard Roth Receives Lifesaving Kidney From Colleague. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 18, 2022 - 07:30   ET




SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's been released on house arrest.

Police said they believe those involved in the shooting knew one another. The shooting left 14 people injured. At least nine suffered gunshot wounds and five others hurt while attempting to leave the scene.

About 100 miles south of Columbia in Hampton County, South Carolina, police say nine people were shot early Sunday morning at a lounge. CNN affiliate WTOC TV reporting the lounge was hosting an Easter bash when the shots rang out. Some people jumped into nearby ditches to avoid being hit, WTOC reported. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is leading the investigation.

In Boston, police said two people were shot in the city's Chinatown neighborhood.

GREGORY LONG, BOSTON POLICE SUPERINTENDENT-IN-CHIEF: Both of these males were transported to local area hospitals and both are currently listed in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Three suspects are in custody after the vehicle police said they were fleeing in crashed. Two were injured in the crash but police said they do not believe those injuries are life- threatening. Boston police say what led up to the shooting is still unclear but the investigation is ongoing.


PROKUPECZ (on camera): And Brianna, certainly, law enforcement all across the country is scrambling to try and stop this explosion of gun violence that we're seeing all across the country.

One common theme that we're seeing in a lot of these shootings when we come back from the weekend is a lot of innocent bystanders. People out partying, people out shopping, just having birthday parties are getting caught in the middle of crossfire between rival gangs or crews -- people fighting and choosing to pull out guns to settle their disputes. And that's what law enforcement is seeing all across the country.


Shimon, thank you so much for doing that report. It's so important.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: Easter weekend also.


AVLON: It's just horrific.

KEILAR: We do have some breaking news out of the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukraine. Officials say heavy fighting is ongoing there in the city after Ukrainian defenders refused to surrender to Russian forces.

AVLON: Evacuate now. Officials in Luhansk in eastern Ukraine urging civilians to leave as President Zelenskyy warns of an incoming Russian offensive.

KEILAR: And the warning that President Zelenskyy and the Pope are issuing this morning about Vladimir Putin's potential use of nuclear weapons.



AVLON: Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is sounding the alarm and not just for Ukraine. He told CNN that countries around the world should be prepared for the possibility that Vladimir Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: And not only me. I think all of the world -- all the countries have to be warned because you know that it can be not real information but it -- but it can be the truth. Because when they began to speak about one another battles or involved enemies or nuclear weapons or some chemical, you know, issues -- chemical weapons.

They should do it -- they could do it. I mean, like, they can. For them the life of their people is nothing. That's why we should think -- not be afraid. I mean, don't be afraid. Be ready. But that is not a question for -- to Ukraine -- and not only for the Ukraine, for all the -- for all the world. I think so.


AVLON: Joining us now, CNN global affairs analyst and Time magazine contributor, Kim Dozier. And CNN counterterrorism analyst and former FBI senior intelligence adviser, Phil Mudd. It's great to have you both here for, as I said, a conversation that could not be more important.

Phil, let's just start with you. What's your reaction to Zelenskyy's warning here?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER: Look, if you're sitting in the White House, even if you consider that there's a 1% or less chance that Putin would use a tactical nuclear weapon, you cannot sit there in front of the president in the Oval Office and say we're not considering those options.

Let's take a further step. If this ever were to happen, let me give you a bad hair day. Mr. President, we didn't think about the implications. When you're thinking about those implications it's not just what does the U.S. do -- there's diplomatic implications.

How do we talk to the Europeans? How do we prepare, obviously, militarily for a response? What's a low-end response. What's a high- end response? What's a humanitarian response? What are second-level consequences?

So you've got to think about it in terms of advising the president but also the complications of responding. You can't do that on the fly, John.

KEILAR: What about Putin's -- oh, sorry -- go on, Kim.

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, CONTRIBUTOR, TIME MAGAZINE: I was just going to say you also have to be thinking what could the military target be because Putin wouldn't use a tactical weapon unless he thinks it's going to get him somewhere on the battlefield.

So perhaps it's hitting those 40,000 Ukrainian troops that are in eastern Ukraine garrisoned there and have been prosecuting the war against the Donbas and they're the only thing standing between Putin taking all of eastern Ukraine or not.

But then, the fallout would be hitting all of the areas that he's planning to take, plus -- depending on where the winds blow -- the rest of Ukraine, Eastern Europe. So these are all the second and third-order effects that are part of that planning.

MUDD: Yes.

KEILAR: Does he get what it would trigger if he does this? Does he get how apoplectic the West would be?

DOZIER: I don't know that there's anyone in the Kremlin that's telling him that. I mean, one of the things that -- we've heard from the Austrian chancellor that Putin thinks he's winning this war. And therefore, you've got to think OK, that Russian tradition of not sending bad news up the chain of command is working against Putin right now in that he seems to believe things that are going better than they are and he must be -- I don't know, blaming the captain of the Moskva for that going down.

[07:40:10] Blaming this and that general and -- well, there are a lot of generals who've already been killed on the battlefield that he can't blame anymore.

AVLON: Yes. I mean, there have been eight generals.

But this is all partly a function of this isolation of dictators --

MUDD: Yes.

AVLON: -- that leads their decision-making to become brittle and isolated. But, you know, the term of the scenario being used for tactical -- that tactical nuclear weapons usage is sometimes called escalate to deescalate.

Phil, tell us just in terms of the strategic response, what has been gamed out? What is considered a best practice strategic response of escalate to deescalate in this nightmare scenario for the world?

MUDD: Well, let me give you an -- I've been thinking through this. Let me give you an interesting scenario because a knee jerk would be what we have to respond in-kind.

I would say quite the opposite. If you think about second-order implications, your question is not how we respond in-kind. Your question is how to use this to increase the isolation and maybe, potentially, the replacement of Vladimir Putin. As soon as you go -- as soon as you go low and you use a nuke, you might lose some of the Europeans. You low moral suasion globally.

I'm looking at this saying if that ever happens, instantly, how do we ratchet up the pressure to get Putin out using allies in Western Europe who remember World War II and don't want any of this? I'm looking at it as an opportunity for diplomacy in squeezing, not as an opportunity to use nukes ourselves.

DOZIER: Yes, everything from getting Germany to immediately cut off all energy purchases -- not just tapering off like they're doing right now. But also, India, Beijing. Do they really want to support a Russia that is willing to launch nuclear weapons for a war of aggression?

KEILAR: That would be a nightmare for everyone and I can't imagine how the Chinese would react to it.

The Pope is warning, Phil, about nuclear war. And there are a lot of people who are able to tune out quite a bit, I think, even when a war is going on. It's sad but it happens. They're going about their lives. Sometimes when the Pope speaks out people hear it.

MUDD: Sort of. I would look at this --

KEILAR: Sort of.

MUDD: Sort of.

I would look at this and say you've got to think about this as python policy. Think about diplomacy that is working with the Europeans again who have been reluctant to go toe-to-toe with the Russians' diplomatic piece. Obviously, there's a military piece, including with NATO. How do we get in weapons faster and bigger into the area? There's a huge economic piece that is cutting off things like Russian gas, destroying the ruble.

There's also moral suasion globally. You mentioned the Chinese. They're not on board yet. The Indians have been a little bit iffy. You're talking about one billion-plus people.

The Pope is significant not in isolation but looking at this python policy of going at every direction. You want people to get out there with a global stage saying you can't be on his side -- you've got to be on ours.

DOZIER: And also, the Ukrainians have said that the Pope has tried to get directly to Vladimir Putin and has been blocked in various ways. So this is a way of going over the heads of advisers, et cetera, and trying to reach Vladimir Putin, who is a Russian Orthodox Christian, to say hey, Christian-to-Christian, what you're doing is wrong.

AVLON: There could not be anything less Christian.

KEILAR: I was going -- you took the words out of my mouth there, Avlon.

AVLON: Well, it happens sometimes.

Phil, Kim, it could not be a more important conversation either. Thank you so much.

DOZIER: Thank you.

AVLON: All right, more on our breaking news. The eastern town of Kreminna has fallen to Russian forces. We're also live on the ground in Lviv where Russian forces struck a civilian target for the first time since they invaded Ukraine.

Plus, the wife of a Kremlin critic detained in Russia joins us live.

KEILAR: And CNN's last remaining original employee says his life was saved when a colleague donated her kidney, and they will join us next on NEW DAY for this great story.



KEILAR: Last September CNN's last remaining original employee, senior U.N. correspondent Richard Roth, sent a letter to his co-workers. He was in desperate need of a new kidney and he explained that even though he had received a kidney transplant 25 years ago it was now dying inside of him. And that is when his colleague, deputy managing editor of CNN's investigations unit, Samira Jafari, answered the call.

They started intense testing to determine if she was a match around Thanksgiving. And then on Tuesday -- I'm getting chills as I say this --

AVLON: I -- it's just incredible.

KEILAR: -- Richard successfully received a kidney from the woman that he now calls his heroin.

And they are both with us now. It is so wonderful to see both of you.

I want to ask you both the same question, Richard, starting with you. How are you feeling physically and emotionally?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT, RECEIVED KIDNEY FROM CO- WORKER (via Webex by Cisco): Well, a little sore, understandably, with the incision. And these are the dangerous times because I have very little immunosuppression against any infection or disease. I'm going back after this interview to Yale New Haven Medical where the surgery was performed for my first checkup, as will Samira.

I'm just very blessed. I'm not very lucky at the race track, one of my loves, but so far, with this medical lifeline that Samira has given me, it's onward and upward.

AVLON: It's wonderful to hear and it's far better to be lucky with this than at the race track.

Samira, how are you feeling?

SAMIRA JAFARI, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR OF CNN'S INVESTIGATIONS UNIT, DONATED KIDNEY TO CO-WORKER (via Webex by Cisco): I feel really -- I feel great. I'm getting stronger every day, as Richard mentioned. I, too, have a follow-up appointment today and I'm actually hoping I'll be cleared for travel to get back home to Atlanta. But the surgery was definitely easier on my body than on Richard's, so I'm continuously rooting for him and I hope he gets stronger every day, too.


KEILAR: I will say you both look and sound great --


KEILAR: -- all right? I know you're going through a lot, especially you, Richard, right now.

I do want to tell the story of how this all came to be because Samira, CNN -- and this is something when people come to work at CNN they'll say it's big, right? So you and Richard -- well, obviously, you knew of each other. You hadn't worked closely. You didn't have a relationship where you were immediate colleagues.

So how did this all come to be?

JAFARI: No, that's right. I kind of joke that my kidney met Richard before I actually did in person. I had -- I'd only worked with Richard over the phone. I edited in my old job some of his scripts. But really, I was just -- I got his e-mail. I was moved by it. And I knew he was a CNN original and I also just had great admiration for what he did as a journalist and who he was. And it just -- as a human, just felt like something I could do at that point in my life. It just felt possible for me to do this.

I knew just -- at a basic level, I knew these surgeries are successful but that the real difficulty -- are often successful but the real difficulty is actually finding donors. And so, I just felt like I was in a place in my life that maybe I could raise my hand and just get it started and maybe be the match.

AVLON: That takes enormous courage as well as kindness.

Richard, how do you thank someone who saved your life?

ROTH: I've been wondering about that. Samira is not the type of person who looks to be getting pats on the back and the glory. She is not that type of person. So, perhaps coming up with the right idea is even a little tougher but I'll come up with something.

You know, I'm very fortunate. I mean, there are 117,000 people looking for kidneys and livers, and many people die each day. I guess I could only ask people who are like Samira or tend to lean that way to think about donating to a friend or a relative. Samira was out of the hospital the next day.

But if it wasn't for our former leader Jeff Zucker reiterating my plea on the morning CNN conference call, maybe Samira can join in on what happened then. How close it was to her hearing about me.

AVLON: Please.

JAFARI: I wouldn't have read the e-mail. We get hundreds of e-mails. I wouldn't have read it. And it's no -- nothing about Richard. You guys know how many e-mails we get a day and it's just -- and how much movement there is around this company. How much news moves around.

And if Jeff hadn't said hey, I need you guys to read Richard Roth's e- mail I probably would have missed it in the big scheme of things. And I'm just really glad I didn't.

And Richard -- he doesn't need to do anything else. Richard has shown nothing but gratitude and courage through this whole process.

I just really want -- a lot has been made of me and I just really, really want people to understand that the real -- this would not be possible without our surgeons. We have amazing surgeons. We were in amazing hands.

And every time I think of them -- and I want to name them -- Dr. Haakinson and Dr. Kulkarni at the Yale Transplant Center just down the street from me. Their team was incredible and the minute I met them I knew this is completely doable not just for me but for a lot of people. So, they really should be commended in this process.

KEILAR: Yes, it's so many heroes.

ROTH: I was -- I want --

KEILAR: Richard?

ROTH: Can I just briefly thank all the CNN people who tried to help me along the way and former CNN people. And I'm inundated with e-mails and tweets. People who will usually ask me are you still working? And now, it's better to be getting how are you feeling?

KEILAR: Yes, that is good news.

Richard, can you just tell us a little bit about how you found out that Samira was willing to help? What that was like. How much -- how much time between sending that e-mail out of, sort of, desperation and knowing that you were maybe going to get some help?

ROTH: I need to look back on this because I -- as everyone knows, I save almost every e-mail. And I think it was an e-mail; not a phone call. But I definitely want to check back. I know I've saved one or two of her phone messages.

I mean, she could have dropped out at any point. I had one or two people do that. We had doctors rule out some other CNN people. I always said for months until this kidney is in me I'm not holding out hope because that's how perilous it all is.

Now, many other CNN people do not know that in my contract there is a clause that says since I'm the last original that every CNN employee has to be prepared to turn over an organ to me when I need it.



Bionic CNN employee at age 100. I don't know.

AVLON: That's some serious pull.

KEILAR: Richard, I think that you are renowned in this company for your sense of humor and also for your warmth and your graciousness, and it is so beautiful to see that returned to you. Samira, you are a hero. The surgeons are heroes. And it's just beautiful to speak with you both today. Thank you so much and best of luck in both of your recoveries.

AVLON: Absolutely.

ROTH: Thank you for having us. Welcome back from Ukraine.

JAFARI: Thank you.

KEILAR: Oh, thank you, Richard.

AVLON: Bless you both.

KEILAR: Samira and Richard -- oh, I love it.

AVLON: I love it. What a beautiful story.

KEILAR: Wonderful.

We do have some more on the breaking news of fighting and strikes in both east and western Ukraine. Officials saying that control of the eastern town of Kreminna has been lost to Russian forces as missiles are fired in Lviv overnight, which we have rarely seen. CNN is live from Lviv.